He Shall Dwell On High

A poem by Joseph Horatio Chant

(Isaiah 33:16)


Tossed about in strange commotion
Like the surface of the ocean
When the wind, its waters lashing,
Sends great billows, roaring, dashing
O'er the breakers, which for ages
Have withstood the storms it wages,
See those clouds, so like this ocean,
How they whirl in strange commotion.

Dust and vapor now are meeting,
Each the other wildly greeting;
As one hand another grasping,
So are these each other clasping;
Now they whirl in form fantastic
And great trees with boughs elastic
With loud moans are lowly bending,
Leaves and fruit to earth descending.

Eyes 'most blinded, nerves all shaken,
By this fearful storm o'ertaken,
As it swept on toward the sunrise;
Yet, I chanced to lift my dim eyes
Upward, when, O sight entrancing,
I beheld, to west advancing,
Other clouds, in higher current,
Unlike earth's, so wild and errant.

Far above the wild commotion,
Like great ships on peaceful ocean,
Floating westward, grand and steady,
Were those clouds, as if made ready,
As great cars, with grand pavilions,
To convey the ransomed millions
From this earth where storms are raging
To that land of charms engaging.

Life on earth is a probation;
Storms fit well in this relation;
Yet, above, are peaceful regions,
Where ne'er come hell's dreaded legions.
Looking toward the things eternal,
We may rise to realms supernal,
Where earth's dust will not defile us
Nor the cunning foe beguile us.

To this higher plain, O lift me,
Gracious Lord! ere Satan sift me,
Far above this noisy Babel;
Far above earth's clouds, all sable;
Up so far no darts can reach me,
Where the Holy Ghost will teach me;
And, in perfect peace abiding,
I will sing while heavenward riding!

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