The theme of the poem "The Retreat" is yearning for the religious purity and innocence of childhood. Henry Vaughan wrote the poem in the mid-1600s.
In "The Retreat" Vaughan describes his youth as "my angel infancy." He expresses a closeness with God and how as a child he could glimpse "His bright face" in clouds and flowers. As an adult with a heavy soul, he longs "to travel back."
Vaughan was born in Wales in 1621. He attended but did not finish a degree at Jesus College at Oxford and perused a career as a lawyer and physician. Vaughan is known for his religious poetry, much of which has the same theme as "The Retreat."