Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The God of Tempest and Earthquake
By Mather Byles (1706–1788)
 
THY dreadful power, Almighty God,
  Thy works to speak conspire;
This earth declares thy fame abroad,
  With water, air, and fire.
 
At thy command, in glaring streaks,        5
  The ruddy lightning flies,
Loud thunder the creation shakes,
  And rapid tempests rise.
 
Now gathering glooms obscure the day,
  And shed a solemn night;        10
And now the heavenly engines play,
  And shoot devouring light.
 
The attending sea thy will performs,
  Waves tumble to the shore,
And toss, and foam amidst the storms,        15
  And dash, and rage, and roar.
 
The earth, and all her trembling hills,
  Thy marching footsteps own;
A shuddering fear her entrails fills,
  Her hideous caverns groan.        20
 
My God! when terrors thickest throng,
  Through all the mighty space,
And rattling thunders roar along,
  And bloody lightnings blaze:
 
When wild confusion wrecks the air,        25
  And tempests rend the skies,
Whilst blended ruin, clouds and fire
  In harsh disorder rise:
 
Amid the hurricane I ’ll stand
  And strike a tuneful song;        30
My harp all trembling in my hand,
  And all inspired my tongue.
 
I ’ll shout aloud, “Ye thunders! roll,
  And shake the sullen sky;
Your sounding voice from pole to pole        35
  In angry murmurs try.
 
“Thou sun! retire, refuse thy light,
  And let thy beams decay;
Ye lightnings, flash along the night,
  And dart a dreadful day.        40
 
“Let the earth totter on her base,
  Clouds heaven’s wide arch deform;
Blow, all ye winds, from every place,
  And breathe the final storm.
 
“O Jesus, haste the glorious day,        45
  When thou shalt come in flame,
And burn the earth, and waste the sea,
  And break all nature’s frame.
 
“Come quickly, blessed hope, appear,
  Bid thy swift chariot fly:        50
Let angels warn thy coming near,
  And snatch me to the sky.
 
“Around thy wheels, in the glad throng,
  I ’d bear a joyful part;
All Hallelujah on my tongue,        55
  All rapture in my heart.”
 
 
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