George Wither

11 June 1588 – 2 May 1667 / Bentworth, Hampshire

The Prayer Of Habakuk

Habak. iii.
Lord, thy answer I did heare,
And I grew therewith afear'd
When the times at fullest are,
Let thy work be then declar'd
When the time, Lord, full doth grow,
Then in anger mercy shew.

God Almightie, he came downe,
Downe he came from Theman-ward
And the matchlesse Holy One
From mount Paran forth appear'd ;
Heaven o'erspreading with his rayes,
And earth filling with his praise.

Sunne-like was his glorious light;
From his side there did appeare
Beaming rayes that shined bright,
And his pow'r he showed there;
Plagues before his face he sent:
At his feete hot coales there went.

Where he stood he measure tooke
Of the earth, and view'd it well;
Nations vanisht at his looke,
Auncient hils to powder fell;
Mountaines old cast lower were;
For his waies eternal are.

Cushan tents I saw diseas'd,
And the Midian curtaines quake.
Have the flouds, Lord, thee displeased ?
Did the flouds thee angry make ?
Was it else. the sea that hath
Thus prouoked thee to wrath ?

For thou rod'st thy horses there,
And thy saving charrets through;
Thou didst make thy bow appeare,
And thou didst performe thy vowe ;
Yea, thine oath and promise past,
To the tribes fulfilled hast.

Through the earth thou riftes didst make,
And the riuers there did flow;
Mountaines seeing thee did shake,
And away the flouds did goe.
From the deepe a voyce was heard,
And his hands on high he rear'd.

Both the sunne and moone made stay,
And remoud not in their spheares;
By thine arrowes' light went they,
By thy brightly shining speares:
Thou in wrath the lands did crush,
And in rage the nations thresh.

For thy people's safe releefe,
With thy Christ for ayd went'st thou ;
Thou hast also peirct their chiefe
Of the sinfull household through,
And display'd them till made bare
From the foote to necke they were.

Thou, with jauelines of their owne,
Didst their armies' leader strike;
For against me they came downe,
To deuoure me wherllwinde-like;
And they ioy in nothing more
Than vnseene to spoile the poore.

Through the sea thou mad'st a way,
And didst ride thy horses there,
Where great heapes of water lay ;
I the newes thereof did heare,
And the voyce my bowels shooke;
Yea, my lips a quiv'ring tooke.

Rottennesse my bones possest,
Trembling feare possessed me,
I that troublous day might rest;
For when his approches be
Onward to the people made,
His strong troups will them invade.

Bloomlesse shall the fig-tree bee,
And the vine no fruit shall yeeld;
Fade shall then the oliue-tree,
Meat shall none be in the field ;
Neither in the fold or stall
Flock or heard continue shall.

Yet the Lord my ioy shall be,
And in him I will delight,
In my God that saueth me,
God the Lord my only might;
Who my feet so guides, that I,
Hinde-like, pace my places high.
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