Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PRESENCE OF GOD, by AMELIA B. WELBY



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THE PRESENCE OF GOD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O thou, who fling'st so fair a robe
Last Line: For thou, the god of peace, art there.
Alternate Author Name(s): Coppuck, Amelia B.


O THOU, who fling'st so fair a robe
Of clouds around the hills untrod --
Those mountain-pillars of the globe,
Whose peaks sustain thy throne, O God!
All glittering round the sunset skies,
Their trembling folds are lightly furl'd,
As if to shade from mortal eyes
The glories of yon upper world;
There, while the evening star upholds
In one bright spot their purple folds,
My spirit lifts its silent prayer,
For Thou, the God of love, art there.

The summer flowers, the fair, the sweet,
Upspringing freely from the sod,
In whose soft looks we seem to meet,
At every step, Thy smiles, O God!
The humblest soul their sweetness shares,
They bloom in palace-hall, or cot --
Give me, O Lord! a heart like theirs,
Contented with my lowly lot!
Within their pure ambrosial bells,
In odours sweet Thy Spirit dwells;
Their breath may seem to scent the air --
'T is Thine, O God! for Thou art there.

List! from yon casement low and dim
What sounds are these, that fill the breeze?
It is the peasant's evening hymn
Arrests the fishers on the seas --
The old man leans his silver hairs
Upon his light suspended oar,
Until those soft delicious airs
Have died like ripples on the shore.
Why do his eyes in softness roll?
What melts the manhood from his soul?
His heart is fill'd with peace and prayer,
For Thou, O God! art with him there.

The birds among the summer-blooms
Pour forth to thee their strains of love,
When, trembling on uplifted plumes,
They leave the earth and soar above;
We hear their sweet familiar airs
Where'er a sunny spot is found;
How lovely is a life like theirs,
Diffusing sweetness all around!
From clime to clime, from pole to pole,
Their sweetest anthems softly roll,
Till, melting on the realms of air,
Thy still small voice seems whispering there.

The stars, those floating isles of light,
Round which the clouds unfurl their sails,
Pure as a woman's robe of white
That trembles round the form it veils,
They touch the heart as with a spell,
Yet, set the soaring fancy free,
And O how sweet the tales they tell!
They tell of peace, of love, and Thee!
Each raging storm that wildly blows
Each balmy gale that lifts the rose,
Sublimely grand, or softly fair,
They speak of Thee, for Thou art there.

The spirit oft oppress'd with doubt,
May strive to cast Thee from its thought,
But who can shut thy presence out,
Thou mighty Guest that com'st unsought.
In spite of all our cold resolves,
Whate'er our thoughts, where'er we be,
Still magnet-like the heart revolves,
And points, all trembling, up to Thee;
We cannot shield a troubled breast
Beneath the confines of the bless'd,
Above, below, on earth, in air,
For Thou the living God art there.

Yet, far beyond the clouds outspread,
Where soaring fancy oft hath been,
There is a land where thou hast said
The pure of heart shall enter in;
In those fair realms so calmly bright
How many a loved and gentle one
Bathes its soft plumes in living light
That sparkles from Thy radiant Throne!
There souls, once soft and sad as ours
Look up and sing 'mid fadeless flowers --
They dream no more of grief and care,
For Thou, the God of peace, art there.





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