This loss, together with the execution of King Charles 1, the death of his beloved young wife, Catherine, and the suppression of the Anglican Church during the Commonwealth period, cast him into a prolonged state of despondency, from which his poetry and practice as a doctor eventually helped him to emerge.
His poetry is ‘sacramental’ in that it breathes a sense of the spiritual reality behind the visible world. He is the poet of light and of the sudden, dramatic image: “They are all gone into the world of light”; “I saw eternity the other night”. But he is also the poet of darkness, believing that at night we often encounter truths that we are blind to in the common light of day. In his poem, ‘The Night’, the darkness serves as an image for Christ’s veiling of his glory in coming into the world. Vaughan died in 1695 and is buried in the parish church of his birth-place. His ‘day’ is 3rd May.