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Paraphrase of Isaiah, Chap. 64

John Henry Newman 1801 (London) – 1890 (Edgbaston)

O that Thou wouldest rend the breadth of sky,
That veils Thy presence from the sons of men!
O that, as erst Thou camest from on high
Sudden in strength, Thou so would'st come again!
Track'd out by judgments was Thy fiery path,
Ocean and mountain withering in Thy wrath!

Then would Thy name—the Just, the Merciful—
Strange dubious attributes to human mind,
Appal Thy foes; and, kings, who spurn Thy rule,
Then, then would quake to hopeless doom
See, the stout bows, and totters the secure,
While pleasure's bondsman hides his head impure!

Come down! for then shall from its seven bright
To him who thirsts the draught of life be given;
Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard the things
Which He hath purposed for the heirs of heaven,—
A God of love, guiding with gracious ray
Each meek rejoicing pilgrim on his way.

Yea, though we err, and Thine averted face
Rebukes the folly in Thine Israel done,
Will not that hour of chastisement give place
To beams, the pledge of an eternal sun?
Yes for His counsels to the end endure;
We shall be saved, our rest abideth sure.

Lord, Lord! our sins… our sins… unclean are we,
Gross and corrupt; our seeming-virtuous deeds
Are but abominate; all, dead to Thee,
Shrivel, like leaves when summer's green recedes;
While, like the autumn blast, our lusts arise,
And sweep their prey where the fell serpent lies.

None, there is none to plead with God in prayer
Bracing his laggart spirit to the work
Of intercession; conscience-sprung despair,
Sin-loving still, doth in each bosom lurk.
Guilt calls Thee to avenge;—Thy risen ire
Sears like a brand, we gaze and we expire.

But now, O Lord, our Father! we are Thine,
Design and fashion; senseless while we lay,
Thou, as the potter, with a Hand Divine,
Didst mould Thy vessels of the sluggish clay.
Mark not our guilt, Thy word of wrath recall,
we are Thine by price, Thy people all!

Alas for Zion! 'tis a waste;—the fair,
The holy place in flames;—where once our sires
Kindled the sacrifice of praise and prayer,
Far other brightness gleams from Gentile fires.
Low lies our pride;—and wilt Thou self-deny
Thy rescuing arm unvex'd amid thine Israel's cry?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:58 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,178
Words 386
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 6, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6

John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman CO, also referred to as Cardinal Newman, was an important figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century. more…

All John Henry Newman poems | John Henry Newman Books

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