John Bowring

(1792-1872 / England)

Winter: Sunday Morning - Poem by John Bowring

God of the morning! Thou, the sabbath's God!
Round whose bright footsteps thousand planets roll:
A million beings at Thy mighty nod
Are born;-and perish as they reach their goal.
How great art Thou!-an unimagined deep
Of wisdom and of power!-Thy laws how sure-
Thy way how full of mystery!-Thou dost keep
Thy court among the heavens, sublime and pure
And unapproachable: the tired eye breaks
Ere it can reach Thee.-Who can fathom Thee?
Who read Thy counsels? Thought exhausted seeks
Thy path in vain. 'Tis o'er the mighty sea,
On the tall mountain, in the rushing wind,
And the mad tempest.-In a cloudy car,
Wrapt in thick darkness, rides th' Eternal Mind
O'er land and ocean, and from star to star.
Hast thou not seen Him in His proud career,
Or heard His awful voice? O look around,
For He is always visible, always near.
Listen to His eloquent words, in every sound
Of zephyr, waterfall, or birds, or bees,
Or thousand songs, these sweet and those sublime;
All nature's intellectual harmonies,
And the soft music of the stream of time.
See Him in the vernal beauty of the flower,
In the ripe glory of the autumnal glow;
In summer's rich and radiant festal hour,
In winter's purest, fairest robes of snow:
There art Thou!-not in temples built by the hand
Of vanity-by the unproductive toil
Of the hot brow, or by the fierce command
Of tyrants, or with shame-collected spoil.
Thy temple is the universe! Thy throne
Raised on the stars: Thy light is every where:
And ceaseless music hymns th' Eternal One
All-eloquent-nor can the listening ear
Mistake that homage, which all time, all space,
Pours forth to Thee; and shall while worlds endure.
Who sees not Thy bright smile in nature's face?
Who Thy high spirit, beautiful and pure,
Marks not throughout existence? All we have
And all we hope for is Thy gift: and man
Without Thee is a faint and fetter'd slave,
Driven by the winds of passion, without plan
Or purpose, or pursuit becoming:-Thou
Art great, and great are all Thy works, and great
Shall be Thy praise. Before Thy throne we bow;
To Thee our prayers, our vows we consecrate.

O Thou Eternal Being! clad in light,
I in the dust before Thy presence fall,
And ask for wisdom in Thy hallow'd sight,
To lead my steps to Thee. How calmly all
Sleeps in the stillness of the sabbath morn,
As if to sanctify the sacred day!
The spirit of peace, on the mild zephyrs borne,
Glides gently on the tranquil morning's ray;
And in a solemn pause all nature seems
To feel the present Deity; He speaks
In the twilight melodies-smiles in the fair beams
Which from His locks the star of morning shakes.
Heaven is His canopy, His footstool earth,
A thousand worlds His throne! O Lord, to Thee,
Holiest and mightiest! Source of light, of worth,
Be praise and glory thro' eternity!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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