(John Henry Newman)

The Elements

MAN is permitted much
To scan and learn
In Natures frame;
Till he well-nigh can tame
Brute mischiefs, and can touch
Invisible things, and turn
All warring ills to purposes of good.
Thus, as a god below,
He can control,
And harmonize, what seems amiss to flow
As severd from the whole
And dimly understood.

But oer the elements
One Hand alone,
One Hand has sway.
What influence day by day
In straiter belt prevents
The impious Ocean, thrown
Alternate oer the ever-sounding shore?
Or who has eye to trace
How the Plague came?
Forerun the doublings of the Tempests race?
Or the Airs weight and flame
On a set scale explore?

Thus God has willd
That man, when fully skilld,
Still gropes in twilight dim;
Encompassd all his hours
By fearfullest powers
Inflexible to him.
That so he may discern
His feebleness,
And een for earths success
To Him in wisdom turn,
Who holds for us the keys of either home,
Earth and the world to come. 

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