Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Existence of a Deity
By Joseph Lathrop (1731–1820)
WHEN 1 I lift up my wond’ring eyes,
And view the grand and spacious skies,
“There is a God!” my thoughts exclaim,
Who built this vast stupendous frame.
The sun by day with glorious light,        5
The moon with softer rays by night,
Each rolling planet, glowing star,
Wisdom and power divine declare.
The lightning’s blaze, the thunder’s roar,
The clouds, which wat’ry blessings pour,        10
The winter’s frost, the summer’s heat,
This pleasing, awful truth repeat.
The forest and the grassy mead,
Where wild beasts roam, or tame ones feed,
Corn, springing from the lifeless clod,        15
Confess the agency of God.
My body form’d with nicest art,
My heaving lungs, and beating heart,
My limbs, obsequious to my will,
Show forth my Maker’s power and skill.        20
The various passions of the mind,
The powers of reason more refined,
Bold fancy’s flight, each lively sense
Prove a supreme intelligence.
A God so great and always near,        25
Shall be the object of my fear;
His goodness, wisdom, truth, and love,
Shall my best passions ever move.
My care shall be, his sacred will
To understand and to fulfil:        30
His service shall my life employ,
His favor is my highest joy.
Note 1. Lathrop was born at Norwich in Connecticut, October 20th, 1731, and graduated at Yale College in 1754, soon after which he was settled in the ministry at Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1793 he was chosen Professor of Theology in Yale College, but declined the office. He died December 31st, 1820, in his 90th year. Several volumes of his sermons have been published. [back]

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