Henry Vaughan (April 17, 1622 − April 23, 1695) was a Welsh physician and metaphysical poet. Vaughan spent most of his life in the village of Llansantffraed, near Brecon, where he was also buried.
Both Henry and his twin Thomas were schooled locally by the rector of Llangattock (Crickhowell), the Rev. Matthew Herbert. Vaughan took his literary inspiration from his native environment and chose the descriptive name "Silurist," derived from his homage to the Silures, the Celtic tribe of pre-Roman south Wales which strongly resisted the Romans.
By 1647 Henry Vaughan, with his wife and children, had chosen life in the country. This is the setting in which Vaughan wrote Olor Iscanus, the (Swan of Usk). Olor Iscanus is a direct representation of a specific period in Vaughan's life, which emphasizes other secular writers and provides allusions to debt and happy living. It is a work filled with odd words and similes that beg for attention despite its dark and morbid cognitive appeal.
There is a distinct difference between the atmosphere Vaughan attempts to convey in this work and in his most famous work, Silex Scintillans.
Critics have complained that Vaughan is enslaved to George Herbert's works, using similar "little tricks" such as abrupt introductions and whimsical titles as a framework for his own work, and that he "failed to learn" from Herbert. Vaughan carried an inability to know his limits and focused more on the intensity of the poem, meanwhile losing the attention of his audience.
Alliteration (conspicuous in Welsh poetry) is more extensively used by Vaughan than most of his contemporaries writing English verse, noticeably in the opening to The Water-fall.
He is recognized "as another example of a poet who can write both graceful and effective prose" and influenced the work of poets such as Wordsworth, Tennyson and Siegfried Sassoon. The American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick even named Vaughan as a key influence.