Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
Hymn of Nature
By William B. O. Peabody (1799–1847)
GOD 1 of the earth’s extended plains!
  The dark green fields contented lie:
The mountains rise like holy towers,
  Where man might commune with the sky:
The tall cliff challenges the storm        5
  That lowers upon the vale below,
Where shaded fountains send their streams,
  With joyous music in their flow.
God of the dark and heavy deep!
  The waves lie sleeping on the sands,        10
Till the fierce trumpet of the storm
  Hath summon’d up their thundering bands;
Then the white sails are dash’d like foam,
  Or hurry trembling, o’er the seas,
Till calm’d by thee, the sinking gale        15
  Serenely breathes, “Depart in peace.’
God of the forest’s solemn shade!
  The grandeur of the lonely tree,
That wrestles singly with the gale,
  Lifts up admiring eyes to thee;        20
But more majestic far they stand,
  When side by side, their ranks they form,
To wave on high their plumes of green,
  And fight their battles with the storm.
God of the light and viewless air!        25
  Where summer breezes sweetly flow,
Or, gathering in their angry might,
  The fierce and wintry tempests blow;
All—from the evening’s plaintive sigh,
  That hardly lifts the drooping flower,        30
To the wild whirlwind’s midnight cry—
  Breathes forth the language of thy power.
God of the fair and open sky!
  How gloriously above us springs
The tented dome, of heavenly blue,        35
  Suspended on the rainbow’s wings;
Each brilliant star, that sparkles through
  Each gilded cloud, that wanders free
In evening’s purple radiance, gives
  The beauty of its praise to thee.        40
God of the rolling orbs above!
  Thy name is written clearly bright
In the warm day’s unvarying blaze,
  Or evening’s golden shower of light.
For every fire that fronts the sun,        45
  And every spark that walks alone
Around the utmost verge of heaven,
  Were kindled at thy burning throne.
God of the world! thy hour must come,
  And nature’s self to dust return!        50
Her crumbling altars must decay!
  Her incense fires shall cease to burn!
But still her grand and lovely scenes
  Have made man’s warmest praises flow;
For hearts grow holier as they trace        55
  The beauty of the world below.
Note 1. Peabody, a native of Exeter, New Hampshire, was graduated at Cambridge, in 1816. He is now settled in the ministry at Springfield, in Massachusetts. His poems, which have appeared anonymously in various periodicals, show superior talent and good taste. [back]

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