Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FRAGMENT OF AN ORATORIO FROM THE BOOK OF JOB, by THOMAS CAMPBELL

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

FRAGMENT OF AN ORATORIO FROM THE BOOK OF JOB, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Crushed by misfortune's yoke
Last Line: And the thunder of the fight.
Subject(s): Job (bible)

CRUSHED by misfortune's yoke,
Job lamentably spoke: --
"My boundless curse be on
The day that I was born;
quenched be the star that shone
Upon my natal morn.
In the grave I long
To shroud my breast;
Where the wicked cease to wrong,
And the weary are at rest."
Then Eliphaz rebuked his wild despair: --
"What Heaven ordains, 'tis meet that man should bear.
Lately, at midnight drear,
A vision shook my bones with fear;
A spirit passed before my face,
And yet its form I could not trace;
It stopped, it stood, it chilled my blood,
The hair upon my flesh uprose
With freezing dread!
Deep silence reigned, and at its close
I heard a voice that said --
'Shall mortal man be more pure and just
Than God, who made him from the dust?
Hast thou not learned of old, how fleet
Is the triumph of the hypocrite? --
How soon the wreath of joy grows wan
On the brow of the ungodly man?
By the fire of his conscience he perisheth
In an unblown flame:
The Earth demands his death,
And the Heavens reveal his shame.'"


Is this your consolation?
Is it thus that ye condole
With the depth of my desolation,
And the anguish of my soul!
But I will not cease to wail
The bitterness of my bale.
Man that is born of woman,
Short and evil is his hour;
He fleeth like a shadow,
He fadeth like a flower.
My days are past; my hope and trust
Is but to moulder in the dust.


Bow, mortal, bow, before thy God,
Nor murmur at his chastening rod;
Fragile being of earthly clay,
Think on God's eternal sway!
Hark! from the whirlwind forth
Thy Maker speaks -- "Thou child of earth,
Where wert thou when I laid
Creation's corner-stone?
When the sons of God rejoicing made,
And the morning stars together sang and shone?
Hadst thou power to bid above
Heaven's constellations glow;
Or shape the forms that live and move
On Nature's face below?
Hast thou given the horse his strength and pride?
He paws the valley with nostril wide,
He smells far off the battle;
He neighs at the trumpet's sound --
And his speed devours the ground,
As he sweeps to where the quivers rattle,
And the spear and shield shine bright,
'Midst the shouting of the captains
And the thunder of the fight.

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