The Elements

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

MAN is permitted much  
   To scan and learn  
   In Nature’s frame;  
 Till he well-nigh can tame  
 Brute mischiefs, and can touch  
 Invisible things, and turn  
All warring ills to purposes of good.  
 Thus, as a god below,  
   He can control,  
And harmonize, what seems amiss to flow  
 As sever’d from the whole  
 And dimly understood.  
 But o’er the elements  
   One Hand alone,  
   One Hand has sway.
 What influence day by day  
 In straiter belt prevents  
 The impious Ocean, thrown  
Alternate o’er the ever-sounding shore?  
 Or who has eye to trace
   How the Plague came?  
Forerun the doublings of the Tempest’s race?  
 Or the Air’s weight and flame  
 On a set scale explore?  
 Thus God has will’d
 That man, when fully skill’d,  
 Still gropes in twilight dim;  
 Encompass’d all his hours  
   By fearfullest powers  
 Inflexible to him.
 That so he may discern  
   His feebleness,  
 And e’en for earth’s success  
 To Him in wisdom turn,  
Who holds for us the keys of either home,
 Earth and the world to come.

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 29, 2023

51 sec read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,040
Words 170
Stanzas 3
Stanza Lengths 12, 12, 12

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

0 fans

Discuss the poem The Elements with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "The Elements" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024. <>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    May 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!



    Are you a poetry master?

    Which poet is associated with the poem "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"?
    A Ralph Waldo Emerson
    B Emily Dickinson
    C Langston Hughes
    D Maya Angelou