By Charles Sangster



     When o’er the cloud-veiled face of heaven
          The far-resounding thunders roll,
     When the impending cloud is riven,
          And the lightning leaps from its fiery goal,
The strong earth totters, and the mountains nod,


And nature trembles at the Voice of God.

          That Voice at whose command
Chaos recoiled; and Night, that long had kept
Her gloomy wings outspread, arose and crept—
Like to a guilty thing—into the deep;


          That caused the earth to leap
From its firm anchorage, where it lay
In hidden embryo—a confuséd heap—
And fashioned it with an invisible hand
Into a lovely world; that called the Day,


To banish thence the blackest shades of Night,
And flood the world with heaven-borrowed light;
That Voice which, from the top of Sinai,
In thunder spake the sacred law divine;
At whose presence the mount—the sky—


Glowed bright, illumined by the lightning’s fire,
Almighty Love revealed—Almighty Ire!

          The birds that wing their flight
Through the blue skies, or in the sacred groves
Assemble, to rehearse their songs of love,


Or chirp their mellow notes with sweet delight; [Page 95]
          They sing His praise,—
          And as their thrilling lays
          Float through the summer skies,
Attending spirits bear the strains to heaven.


What songs more worthy to be sung above
          Than those which God hath given
To the blithe choristers!  ’Tis but the Voice
          Of God that breathes in theirs;
And their sweet minstrelsies are but the prayers,


The orisons, of sinless breasts, that rise
In music-whispers from the stately trees,
Like worship-incense borne upon the morning breeze.

          Look forth into the Night!
Then, most, His Voice in regal silence speaks


          To the observant man.
          The wondrous heavens scan—
The infinitude of worlds that gleam
Like God-Thoughts flung athwart the gloom, and beam
Effulgent glory on the slumberous earth.


Is there a wish within thy soul that seeks
To know whence they derived their mystic birth?
          From what vast source divine,
          Like jewels from the mine,
They sprang, ablaze with their redundant light,


While angels sped from orb to orb, and viewed
The gleaming worlds, where all was solitude;
And awed to silence, gazed with wonder on
Each blazing planet and impassioned sun; [Page 96]
Saw the swift meteor urge its burning car


Adown the breathless silences afar,
And watched the advent of each new-born star,
Bursting the blue enamel of the sky,
As it came clothed with splendor from on high,
Launched on its errand of infinity!


Oh! with what aching rapture throbs the sight!
What saith my questioning soul!  A Voice Supreme
Strikes like swift sunlight through my ether-dream,
Whispering that these innumerous worlds of light,
Before the foot of man this earth had trod,


Were called from Chaos by the Voice of God!

          But stay not here.
Hark to the psalmy voices of the winds
          That sweep the pathless ocean!
          Look around!—


How the waves moan above the mariner’s bier!
Ere this the monsters of the deep have found
His stiffened corse; but the wild wave finds
Another, still another, victim for its rage.
There is a Voice speaks from the chainless winds,


That ceaseless warfare with the billows wage,
Making more terrible their wild commotion.
          There is a voice in every wave;
Whether it swells in anger o’er the grave
Of some poor, shipwrecked mariner, or swims


In gentle ripples on the ocean’s breast;
          Or in deep thunder hymns
Its praise tempestuous ere it sinks to rest, [Page 97]
Glutted and surfeited, though not oppressed.
          There is a Voice in everything;


There’s not a living atom but doth sing
The praise of the Almighty, and rejoice
Beneath His Smile, or tremble at His Voice. [Page 98]