The Storm (Bleecker)
Come let us sing how when the Judge Supreme
Mounts the black tempest, arm'd with pointed flame,
What clust'ring horrors form his awful train:
Columns of smoke obscure the crystal skies,
The whirlwind howls, the livid lightning flies,
The bursting thunder sounds from shore to shore,
Earth trembles at the loud prolonged roar:
Down on the mountain forests rush the hail,
Th' aspiring pines fall headlong in the vale;
The riv'lets, swell'd with deluges of rain,
Rise o'er their banks and overflow the plain.
Th'affrighted peasant ope's his humble door,
While from his roof the clatt'ring torrents pour,
He sees his barns all red with conflagration,
His flocks borne off by sudden inundation;
His teeming fields, robb'd of their wavy pride,
By cat'rects tumbling down the mountain's side.
The shock suspends his pow'rs, he stands distrest,
To see his toil of years at once revers'd.
His tender mate, of philosophic foul,
Reproves his grief, and thus her accents roll:
'Exert thy fortitude, for grief is vain,
'Our bread by labour we can yet obtain:
'If riches were the test of virtue, then
'Pale Poverty were infamy to men;
'But since we find the virtuous often dwells
'In public odium, or in lonely cells,
'While those whose crimes blot Nature's aspect o'er,
'Who burn whole towns, and quench the flames in gore;
'In Pleasure's lap supine their moments spend,
'Yet wish annihilation when they end;
'The laws of retribution then require,
'Our joys begin with death---when their's expire;
'Reason allows no scepticism here,
'The good must hope, the bad have much to fear:
'And take a retrospect of thy past years,
'What placid scenes on every hand appears!
'To call the tears of black Remorse no crime,
'Can now suffuse thy cheek or cloud thy mind.
'Grieve not that Fate, with elemental strife
'Has torn away our hopes of mortal joys;
'To put our virtues but in exercise
'Are the misfortunes that arise in life.'
The rustic heard his sorrows all away,
Sweet Peace broke on him with a bright'ning ray;
Calmness and Hope their empire repossest,
Amidst the storm he feels serenely blest;
Amidst the wreck of all his earthly store
He feels more grateful than he did before.