Hymn III.


Thou didst, O mighty God, exist

E’er time begun its race,

Before the ample elements

Fill’d up the voids of space.


Before the pond’rous earthly globe

In fluid air was stay’d,

Before the ocean’s mighty springs

Their liquid stores display’d:


E’er through the gloom of ancient night

The streaks of light appear’d;

Before the high celestial arch,

Or starry poles were rear’d:


Before the loud melodious spheres

Their tuneful round begun,

Before the shining roads of heav’n

Were measur’d by the sun:


E’er through the empyrean courts

One hallelujah rung,

Or to their harps the sons of light

Ecstatic anthems sung:


E’er men ador’d, or angels knew,

Or prais’d thy wondrous name;

Thy bliss (O sacred spring of life!)

And glory was the same.


And when the pillars of the world

With sudden ruin break,

And all this vast and goodly frame

Sinks in the mighty wreck;


When from her orb the moon shall start,

The astonish’d sun roll back,

While all the trembling starry lamps

Their ancient course forsake:


For ever permanent and fix’d,

From agitation free,

Unchang’d in everlasting years

Shall thy existence be.

Text: Poems on Several Occasions (London: E. Dudley [and seven others], 1778), pp. 76-77.