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William Cowper (1731-1800)

Light Shining out of Darkness


1
              1God moves in a mysterious way,
              2    His wonders to perform;
              3He plants his footsteps in the sea,
              4    And rides upon the storm.

2
              5Deep in unfathomable mines
              6    Of never-failing skill,
              7He treasures up his bright designs,
              8    And works his sov'reign will.

3
              9Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
            10    The clouds ye so much dread
            11Are big with mercy, and shall break
            12    In blessings on your head.

4
            13Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
            14    But trust him for his grace;
            15Behind a frowning providence
            16    He hides a smiling face.

5
            17His purposes will ripen fast,
            18    Unfolding ev'ry hour;
            19The bud may have a bitter taste,
            20    But sweet will be the flow'r.

6
            21Blind unbelief is sure to err,
            22    And scan his work in vain;
            23God is his own interpreter,
            24    And he will make it plain.

Notes

20] Rendered "But wait, to Smell the flower" in the Maitland-Madan Commonplace Book, 113-14 (The Poems of William Cowper, ed. John D. Baird and Charles Ryskamp, Vol. I: 1748-1782 [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980]: 174-75; PR 3380 A2).


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Newton [and William Cowper], Olney Hymns, in Three Books, 5th edn. (London: J. Buckland and J. Johnson, 1788). Book III, no. 15, p. 255. BV 370 N48 1788 Victoria College Library.
First publication date: 1779
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/2/10

Composition date: 1772
Form: Hymnal Measure
Rhyme: abab


Other poems by William Cowper