Light Shining Out of Darkness

by WILLIAM COWPER (1731-1800)

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

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take!
The clouds ye so much dread,
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His works in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

William Cowper

William Cowper (“Coo-per”) was born in 1731 in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England He grew up to study the law. He grappled with depression and suffered a breakdown after he was offered a government job through his uncle’s influence in 1763. After spending two years in an asylum, he recovered and went to live with the Unwin family at Huntingdon, and later at Olney. With the support of his friends, he began to lead a quiet and secure life, composing poetry of everyday life and the English countryside. His verse would ultimately change the course of 18th century nature poetry.

William Cowper Contemporaries
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Thomas Warton
John Cunningham
William Blake

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