Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Appendix I. Early and Uncollected Verses
The Deity
 
                    THE PROPHET stood
On the high mount, and saw the tempest cloud
Pour the fierce whirlwind from its reservoir
Of congregated gloom. The mountain oak,
Torn from the earth, heaved high its roots where once        5
Its branches waved. The fir-tree’s shapely form,
Smote by the tempest, lashed the mountain’s side.
Yet, calm in conscious purity, the Seer
Beheld the awful desolation, for
The Eternal Spirit moved not in the storm.        10
 
The tempest ceased. The caverned earthquake burst
Forth from its prison, and the mountain rocked
Even to its base. The topmost crags were thrown,
With fearful crashing, down its shuddering sides.
Unawed, the Prophet saw and heard; he felt        15
Not in the earthquake moved the God of Heaven.
The murmur died away; and from the height,
Torn by the storm and shattered by the shock,
Rose far and clear, a pyramid of flame
Mighty and vast; the startled mountain deer        20
Shrank from its glare, and cowered within the shade;
The wild fowl shrieked—but even then the Seer
Untrembling stood and marked the fearful glow,
For Israel’s God came not within the flame!
 
The fiery beacon sank. A still, small voice,        25
Unlike to human sound, at once conveyed
Deep awe and reverence to his pious heart.
Then bowed the holy man; his face he veiled
Within his mantle—and in meekness owned
The presence of his God, discerned not in        30
The storm, the earthquake, or the mighty flame.

  1825.
 
 
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