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The Vision of Eliphaz. Paraphrased from Job

’Twas in the solemn midnight hour,
When sleep extends its balmy power,
The slumbering world around;
When Darkness, o’er the extensive globe
Spreads, far and wide, its sable robe,
And Silence reigns profound!
As wrapped in lonely solitude, The starry canopy I viewed, In pensive thought reclined; A sudden tremor chilled my blood, My hair, with horror, upright stood, And terror filled my mind.
Before mine eyes a spirit passed— I gazed, with trembling looks, aghast! As o’er the path it flew; It stood, but naught could I descry, The gloom, that veiled the midnight sky, Concealed it from my view.
Dread Silence reigned! I, shuddering, feared! When suddenly a voice I heard, In slow and solemn tone: “Shall man,” it cried, “presume to vie In justice, and in majesty, With Heaven’s Eternal Throne?
“Can man more purity display Than He, who formed him from the clay, The offspring of the dust? Behold! to those that round Him stand, Attentive to His dread command, He gives no charge, or trust.
“Even angels, next in might to God, Submissive at His footstool nod, And own superior power; And ah! how much! how far below Are mortals, doomed to pain and woe, The pageants of an hour.
“Before the meanest worm they die, And, mouldering into dust, they lie, Within the earth’s cold bed. Many, on whom the morn arose, Before the evening shades, repose In mansions of the dead.
“And soon their memory is no more, Long ages roll successive o’er, And other scenes arise; And, leagued with their departing breath, Before the fatal shaft of death, Their boasted knowledge flies.” 1809.
Fitz-Greene Halleck [1790–1867]