1 Named in honor of Bertram Dobell, who identified Traherne as the author of the anonymous, hand-written manuscripts (Traherne, 1903, 1908). H. M. Margoliouth, the editor of the standard two-volume edition of Traherne's works, Thomas Traherne: Centuries, Poems, and Thanksgivings (Traherne, 1958), printed the poems from the Dobell folio, which constitute a unified sequence, along with additional Traherne poems contained in still another Traherne manuscript, the "Burney Manuscript,"which was found among the books in the Burney collection at the British Museum. These poems were first published in 1910 by H. I. Bell as The Poems of Felicity (Traherne, 1910). Bell's edition comprises many poems Traherne did not include in the sequence contained in the Dobell folio, and which had been badly edited and revised by Philip Traherne, Thomas's brother.
I have used as my source for Traherne's poems and Centuries of Meditations Margoliouth's edition. He explains the contents of his edition on pp. ix-x of Volume I. Throughout the essay I have modernized Traherne's spelling. [Back]

2 See Day (1982, preface) for a summary of Traherne's changing reputation. See also Drake (1970), who in "Thomas Traherne's Songs of Innocence"calls out for a book that will make Traherne readable (p. 492). [Back]

3 See K. W. Salter's Thomas Traherne: Mystic and Poet, (1964, pp. 475-76), and a section titled "Traherne and the Mystical Tradition"in Day's book (1982, pp. 14-18) for the "mystical"view of Traherne. [Back]

4 The application of Maharishi's Vedic Science and Technology to the field of literature is the subject of R. Orme-Johnson's stimulating essay "A Unified Field Theory of Literature"(1987). [Back]

5Louis Martz kindly allowed me to read a copy of the unpublished Select Meditations manuscript at the Beinecke Rare Books Library, Yale University, New Haven. [Back]

6 A friend of Traherne's recorded that "He was a man of a cheerful and sprightly Temper. . . . [He was] very affable and pleasant in his Conversation, ready to do all good Offices to his Friends, and Charitable to the Poor almost beyond his ability"(quoted in Balakier, 1982, p. 4). [Back]

7 See Balakier, 1982, pp. 33-51, for a summary of these approaches to Traherne. [Back]

8 See Nicolson's The breaking of the circle: Studies in the effect of the "new science" upon seventeenth-century poetry (1960) for a discussion of this sub-genre. [Back]

9 The early seventeenth century was a transitional phase in the historical development of science. Bacon's inductive method, in reality, contrasted with the "far more novel"mathematical-deductive method of Galileo, which through "the incipient use of experiment as a method of proof . . . served to verify or falsify a previous expectation"(Hall, 1963/1981, pp. 33-34). Bacon himself "appreciated this role of experiment [as a means of corroborating a previously formulated hypothesis], though he had not emphasized it . . . ."(p. 34). In effect, Bacon's position that truth can be arrived at with experimental evidence unaided by "previous expectations"or hypotheses is a simplification of how science in the seventeenth century was actually practiced. [Back]

10 For a review of research on higher states of consciousness see Alexander and Boyer, 1989. [Back]

11 Though Traherne's employment of the inductive model has not been noted by seventeenth-century scholars, many years ago one critic, T.O. Beachcroft, cited the uniqueness of Traherne's highly organized and "unusually objective"presentation of his experiences of Felicity (1930, p. 292). [Back]

12 This advanced stage of Felicity is discussed later in the essay in connection with its more expanded thematic development in the Dobell poem sequence. [Back]

13 contrastingly calls the state of pure inner Felicity, in this context, "Contemplative Happiness." [Back]

14 See Balakier (1982), pp. 133-141, for an amplified discussion of these principles. [Back]

15 For a more extensive discussion of the Dobell poems, including analysis of transitional poems which repeat and combine main themes within the groupings see Balakier (1989), "Thomas Traherne's Dobell Series and the Baconian Model of Experience,"and Balakier (1982), Thomas Traherne: The Art of Felicity (A Handbook). [Back]

16 See Clements (1969), Chapter 1. [Back]

17 See D.W. Orme-Johnson (1988) "The cosmic psyche as the unified source of creation: Verification through scientific principles, direct experience, and scientific research,"pp. 165-171. [Back]

18 Traherne's "circulation"theme very loosely suggests a concept of Vedic Science termed by Maharishi (1986) "infinite correlation,"which is "a quality of the transcendental level of nature's functioning from where orderliness governs the universe"(p. 75). [Back]