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Wales PoetryAn Ode To The Thunder
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An Ode To The Thunder
Category: The Sublime.
his bardic name of Dafydd Ionawr, was born in the year 1751 at Glanmorfa,
near Towyn, Merionethshire, and died in 1827. He was educated at
Ystradmeurig Grammar School, with a view to entering the Welsh Church,
but his academic career was cut short by the death of his parents, and he
devoted himself to tuition. He composed two long poems, viz.: an "Ode to
the Trinity," and an "Ode to the Deluge," besides a number of minor
poems, and were first published in 1793. This poet is designated the
Welsh Milton, by reason of the grandeur of his conceptions and the force
of his expression.]
Swift-flying courser of the ambient skies!
Thy trackless bourne no mortal ken espies!
But in thy wake the swelling echoes roll
While furious torrents pour from pole to pole;
The thunder bellows forth its sullen roar
Like seething ocean on the storm-lashed shore;
The muttering heavens send terror through the vale,
And awe-struck mountains shiver in the gale;
An angry, sullen, overwhelming sound
That shakes each craggy hollow round and round,
And more astounding than the serried host
Which all the world's artillery can boast;--
And fiercely rushing from the lurid sky
From pregnant clouds and murky canopy
The deluge saturates both hill and plain--
The maddened welkin groaning with the strain:
The torrents dash from upland moors along
Their journey to the main, in endless throng,
And restless, turbid rivers seethe and rack,
Like foaming cataracts, their bounding track;
A devastating flood sweeps o'er the land,
Tartarean darkness swathes the sable strand!
O'er wolds and hills, o'er ocean's chafing waves
The wild tornado's bluster wierdly raves;
The white-heat bolt of every thundering roar
The pitchy zenith coruscating o'er;
The vast expanse of heaven pours forth its ire
'Mid swarthy fogs streaked with candescent fire!
The sombre meadows can be trod no more
Nor beetling brow that over-laps the shore;
The hailstones clattering thro' field and wood--
The rain, the lightning and the scouring flood,
The dread of waters and the blazing sky
Make pensive captives all humanity;
Confusion reigns o'er all the seething land,
From mountain peak to ocean's clammy strand;
As if--it seemed--but weak are human words,
The rocks of Christendom were rent to sherds:
They clash, they dash, they crash, above, around,
The earth-quake, dread, splits up and rasps the ground!
Tell me, my muse, my goddess from above,
Of dazzling sheen, and clothed in robes of love,
What this wild rage--this cataclysmic fall--
What rends the welkin, and, Who rules them all?
"'Tis God! The Blest! All elements are his
Who rules the unfathonable dark abyss.
'Tis God commands! His edicts are their will!
Be silent, heavens! The heavens are hushed and still!"
These are the wail of elemental life;
The fire and water wage supernal strife;
The blasting fire, with scathing, angry glare,
Gleamed like an asphalte furnace in the air:
Around, above it swirled the water's sweep,
And plunged its scorching legions in the deep!
The works of God are good and infinite,
The perfect offsprings of his love and might,
And wonderful, beneficient in every land--
With wisdom crowned the creatures of His hand;
And truly, meekly, lowly must we bow
To worship Him who made all things below,
For from His holy, dazzling throne above
He gives the word, commanding, yet in love,--
"Ye fogs of heaven, ye stagnant, sluggard forms
That float so laggardly amid the storms!
Disperse! And hie you to yon dormant shores!
Your black lair lies where ocean's caverns roar!"
The fogs of heaven o'er yonder sun-tipped hill
Their orcus-journey rush, and all is still.
In brilliant brightness breaks the broad expanse
Of firmament! Heaven opens to our glance;
And day once more out-pours its silvery sheen,
A couch pearl-decked, fit for its orient queen; (aurora)
The sun beams brightly over hill and dale
Its glancing rays enliven every vale:
Its face effulgent makes the heaven to smile
Thro' dripping rain-drops yet it smiles the while,
Its warmth makes loveable the teeming world,
Hill, dale, where'er its royal rays are hurled;
Sweet nature smiles, and sways her magic wand,
And sunshine gleams, beams, streams upon the strand;
And warbling birds, like angels from above
Do hum their hymns and sing their songs of love!--
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