The Day of Doom

Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)


No heart so bold, but now grows cold,
and almost dead with fear;
No eye so dry but now can cry,
and pour out many a tear.
Earth’s Potentates and pow’rful States,
Captains and Men of Might,
Are quite abasht, their courage dasht,
at this most dreadful sight.


Mean men lament, great men do rent
their Robes, and tear their hair;
They do not spare their flesh to tear
through horrible despair.
All kindreds wail; all hearts do fail;
Horror the World doth fill
With weeping eyes and loud out-cries,
yet knows not how to kill.


Some hide themselves in Caves and Delves,
in places under ground:
Some rashly leap into the Deep,
to ’scape by being drown’d:
Some to the Rocks (O senseless blocks!)
and woody mountains run.
That there they might this fearful sight,
and dreaded Presence shun.


In vain do they to Mountains say,
“Fall on us and us hide
From Judge’s ire, more hot than Fire,
for who may it abide?“
No hiding place can from his Face
sinners at all conceal,
Whose flaming Eye hid things doth spy,
and darkest things reveal.


The Judge draws nigh, exalted high
upon a lofty Throne,
Amidst the throng of Angels strong,
lo, Israel’s Holy One!
The excellence of whose Presence
and awful Majesty,
Amazeth Nature, and every Creature
doth more than terrify.


The Mountains smoke, the Hills are shook,
the Earth is rent and torn,
As if she should be clear dissolv’d
or from her center borne.
The Sea doth roar, forsakes the shore,
and shrinks away for fear;
The wild beasts flee into the sea,
so soon as he draws near,


Whose Glory bright, whose wond’rous Might,
whose Power Imperial,
So far surpass whatever was
in Realms Terrestrial,
That tongues of men (nor Angel’s pen)
Cannot the same express;
And therefore I must pass it by,
lest speaking should transgress.

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