ON THE POWER OF THE SUPREME BEING.
1 "TREMBLE, thou Earth! th' anointed poet said,
2 " At God's bright presence, tremble, all ye mountains,
3 "And all ye hillocks on the surface bound."
4 Then once again, ye glorious thunders roll,
5 The Muse with transport hears ye, once again
6 Convulse the solid continent, and shake,
7 Grand music of Omnipotence, the isles.
8 'Tis thy terrific voice, thou God of Power,
9 'Tis thy terrific voice; all Nature hears it
10 Awaken'd and alarm'd; she feels its force,
11 In every spring she feels it, every wheel,
12 And every movement of her vast machine.
13 Behold! quakes Apennine, behold! recoils[Page 313]
14 Athos, and all the hoary-headed Alps
15 Leap from their bases at the godlike sound.
16 But what is this, celestial tho' the note,
17 And proclamation of the reign supreme,
18 Compar'd with such as, for a mortal ear
19 Too great, amaze the incorporeal worlds?
20 Should ocean to his congregated waves
21 Call in each river, cataract, and lake,
22 And with the watry world down an huge rock
23 Fall headlong in one horrible cascade,
24 'Twere but the echo of the parting breeze,
25 When Zephyr faints upon the lily's breast,
26 'Twere but the ceasing of some instrument,
27 When the last lingering undulation
28 Dies on the doubting ear, if nam'd with sounds
29 So mighty! so stupendous! so divine!
30 But not alone in the aërial vault
31 Does he the dread theocracy maintain;
32 For oft, enrag'd with his intestine thunders,
33 He harrows up the bowels of the earth,
34 And shocks the central magnet — Cities then
35 Totter on their foundations, stately columns,
36 Magnific walls, and heaven-assaulting spires.
37 What tho' in haughty eminence erect
38 Stands the strong citadel, and frowns defiance
39 On adverse hosts, tho' many a bastion jut
40 Forth from the ramparts elevated mound,
41 Vain the poor providence of human art,
42 And mortal strength how vain! while underneath[Page 314]
43 Triumphs his mining vengeance in th' uproar
44 Of shatter'd towers, riven rocks, and mountains,
45 With clamour inconceivable uptorn,
46 And hurl'd adown th' abyss. Sulphureous pyrites
47 Bursting abrupt from darkness into day,
48 With din outrageous and destructive ire
49 Augment the hideous tumult, while it wounds
50 Th' afflicted ear, and terrifies the eye,
51 And rends the heart in twain. Twice have we felt,
52 Within Augusta's walls twice have we felt
53 Thy threaten'd indignation, but ev'n Thou,
54 Incens'd Omnipotent, art gracious ever,
55 Thy goodness infinite but mildly warn'd us
56 With mercy-blended wrath; O spare us still,
57 Nor send more dire conviction! we confess
58 That thou art He, th' Almighty: we believe.
59 For at thy righteous power whole systems quake,
60 For at thy nod tremble ten thousand worlds.
61 Hark! on the winged whirlwind's rapid rage,
62 Which is and is not in a moment — hark!
63 On th' hurricane's tempestuous sweep he rides
64 Invincible, and oaks and pines and cedars
65 And forests are no more. For conflict dreadful!
66 The West encounters East, and Notus meets
67 In his career the Hyperborean blast.
68 The lordly lions shuddering seek their dens,
69 And fly like timorous deer; the king of birds,
70 Who dar'd the solar ray, is weak of wing,[Page 315]
71 And faints and falls and dies; — while He supreme
72 Stands stedfast in the center of the storm.
73 Wherefore, ye objects terrible and great,
74 Ye thunders, earthquakes, and ye fire-fraught wombs
75 Of fell volcanos, whirlwinds, hurricanes,
76 And boiling billows, hail! in chorus join
77 To celebrate and magnify your Maker,
78 Who yet in works of a minuter mould
79 Is not less manifest, is not less mighty.
80 Survey the magnet's sympathetic love,
81 That wooes the yielding needle; contemplate
82 Th' attractive amber's power, invisible
83 Ev'n to the mental eye; or when the blow
84 Sent from th' electric sphere assaults thy frame,
85 Shew me the hand that dealt it! — baffled here
86 By his Omnipotence, Philosophy
87 Slowly her thoughts inadequate revolves,
88 And stands, with all his circling wonders round her,
89 Like heavy Saturn in th' etherial space
90 Begirt with an inexplicable ring.
91 If such the operations of his power,
92 Which at all seasons and in every place
93 (Rul'd by establish'd laws and current nature)
94 Arrest th' attention; Who! O Who shall tell
95 His acts miraculous? when his own decrees
96 Repeals he, or suspends, when by the hand
97 Of Moses or of Joshua, or the mouths[Page 316]
98 Of his prophetic seers, such deeds he wrought,
99 Before th' astonish'd Sun's all-seeing eye,
100 That Faith was scarce a virtue. Need I sing
101 The fate of Pharaoh and his numerous band
102 Lost in the reflux of the watry walls,
103 That melted to their fluid state again?
104 Need I recount how Sampson's warlike arm
105 With more than mortal nerves was strung t' o'erthrow
106 Idolatrous Philistia? shall I tell
107 How David triumph'd, and what Job sustain'd?
108 — But, O supreme, unutterable mercy!
109 O love unequall'd, mystery immense,
110 Which angels long t' unfold! 'tis man's redemption
111 That crowns thy glory, and thy power confirms,
112 Confirms the great, th' uncontroverted claim.
113 When from the Virgin's unpolluted womb
114 Shone forth the Sun of Righteousness reveal'd,
115 And on benighted reason pour'd the day;
116 Let there be peace (he said) and all was calm
117 Amongst the warring world — calm as the sea,
118 When O be still, ye boisterous Winds, he cried,
119 And not a breath was blown, nor murmur heard.
120 His was a life of miracles and might,
121 And charity and love, e'er yet he taste
122 The bitter draught of death, e'er yet he rise
123 Victorious o'er the universal foe,
124 And Death and Sin and Hell in triumph lead.
125 His by the right of conquest is mankind,
126 And in sweet servitude and golden bonds[Page 317]
127 Were ty'd to him for ever. — O how easy
128 Is his ungalling yoke, and all his burdens
129 'Tis ecstacy to bear! Him, blessed Shepherd,
130 His flocks shall follow thro' the maze of life
131 And shades that tend to Day-spring from on high;
132 And as the radiant roses after fading
133 In fuller foliage and more fragrant breath
134 Revive in smiling spring, so shall it fare
135 With those that love him — for sweet is their favour,
136 And all eternity shall be their spring.
137 Then shall the gates and everlasting doors,
138 At which the KING OF GLORY enters in,
139 Be to the Saints unbarr'd: and there, where pleasure
140 Boasts an undying bloom, where dubious hope
141 Is certainty, and grief-attended love
142 Is freed from passion — there we'll celebrate,
143 With worthier numbers, Him, who is, and was,
144 And in immortal prowess King of Kings,
145 Shall be the Monarch of all worlds for ever.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): ON THE POWER OF THE SUPREME BEING.
Author: Christopher Smart
Themes: God; religion
Genres: blank verse; essay
References: DMI 32678
Text view / Document view
The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.