Representative Poetry Online
  Poet Index   Poem Index   Random   Search  
  Introduction   Timeline   Calendar   Glossary   Criticism   Bibliography  
  RPO   Canadian Poetry   UTEL  
by Name
by Date
by Title
by First Line
by Last Line
Short poem

William Cowper (1731-1800)

Light Shining out of Darkness

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

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

              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.

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

            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.

            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.


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