Habakkuk

H EARD ye? — or was it Fancy's ear,
The birth of sound-creating fear?
Or was it Heaven's up-lifted rod,
That spoke in thunder from its God?
Avenging Lord! whom none withstand,
Redeem, and spare a guilty land!

'Tis thine, on spirits in dismay
To shed the heart's enliv'ning ray;
Change for the laurel a defeat,
And sound the conquering foe's retreat;
His pride with panick to alarm,
And give the weak a Giant's arm.

The God, unveil'd on Paran's height,
Was girt with streams of blazing light:
Him , every sea, and every shore,
Leap'd from their stations to adore;
The valley rose upon the hill,
And, suppliant, confess'd his will.

Before him, Plague and Famine came,
Death , and the Fever's piercing flame;
Upon his feet, as their attire,
Were sandals of aethereal fire;
We saw his arm with lightning glow,
We saw him bend his fatal bow.

The tents of Cushan were dismay'd,
And Midian's curtain fear betray'd.
The coward-host of Egypt fled: —
Their standards fell, their captains bled.
The Horse and Rider , struck by thee,
Were plung'd into the raging sea.

'Twas at the nod that built the earth,
And measur'd with his arm its girth —
'Twas he that quell'd, and with a look,
The Nations that his thunder shook;
The mountains nodded from their cloud,
And stubborn rocks with homage bow'd.

By him the rivers are detain'd,
And limits of the sea ordain'd: —
His chariot-wheel the billows cleft;
At his command their seat they left,
And through the centre of the main
His armies trod the solid plain.

The mountains trembled at the sight;
The over-flowing Ocean's height
Uplifted an applauding hand,
And pour'd its heaps upon the land;
The Sun was fix'd; the moon, at rest,
His dread Omnipotence confess'd.

But at the light his armour shed,
When fire its radiant lustre fed,
As at a signal, they arose,
And mark'd his desolated foes:
By his elect in triumph claim'd,
Upon their crimson banners flam'd.

Against the Sea was God enrag'd,
When thus its fury he assuag'd: —
Could Nature his bar'd arm provoke
To such a faith-surpassing yoke,
When billows, cleft asunder, fled,
And made a rampart of their bed?

Or was it not that Guilt and Pride
Should feel the arm which they defy'd?
Though as a whirlwind they had sprung,
And shouted from their impious tongue,
In Heaven's abode a listening ear
To Hope and Faith is ever near.

I heard him; — and my leaping heart
No more its current would impart;
Pale were my lips, and quivering shook;
Suspended will its hope forsook;
To Him , in wild and speechless dread,
My desolated spirit fled.

Though fig-trees push their bloom no more,
Though vines their absent fruits deplore,
Though olives droop, and fields decay,
Nor flocks nor herds their wealth display:
Yet is my joy at rest on high,
Assur'd of a Redeemer's eye.

There is my sword, and there my shield,
The sword that pious arms can wield: —
Safe against myriads of the foe,
From devious cliffs I look below,
And leave the baffled chace behind,
Fleet as the arrow, or the hind.
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