Thou Pow'r supreme, by whose Command I live

First Line Thou Pow'r supreme, by whose Command I live
Author Elizabeth Carter
Date 1738

Lyric [Devotional writing, religious belief; Conduct, morality].

Transcribed from Carter, Elizabeth, "In Diem Natalem." Poems upon particular occasions, 1738, pp. 3–7. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CB0129654577.



Thou Pow'r supreme, by whose Command I live,

The grateful Tribute of my Praise receive.

To thy Indulgence I my Being owe,

And all the Joys which from that Being flow.

Scarce eighteen Suns have form'd the rolling Year,

And run their destin'd Courses round this Sphere,

Since thou my undistinguish'd Frame survey'd

Among the lifeless Heaps of Matter laid.

Thy Skill my elemental Clay refin'd,

The straggling Parts in beauteous Order join'd,

With perfect Symmetry compos'd the whole,

And stampt thy sacred Image on my Soul;

A Soul susceptible of endless Joy,

Whose Frame nor Force nor Time can e'er destroy,

But shall subsist when Nature claims my Breath,

And bid Defiance to the Pow'r of Death,

To Realms of Bliss with active Freedom soar,

And live when Earth and Skies shall be no more.

Indulgent God! in vain my Tongue essays,

For this immortal Gift, to speak thy Praise.

How shall my Heart its grateful Sense reveal,

Where all the Energy of Words must fail?

Oh may its Influence in my Life appear,

And every Action prove my Thanks sincere!


Grant me, great God, a Heart to thee inclin'd;

Increase my Faith, and rectify my Mind

Teach me betimes to tread thy sacred Ways,

And to thy Service consecrate my Days.

Still as through Life's uncertain Maze I stray,

Be thou the guiding Star to mark my Way.

Conduct the Steps of my unguarded Youth,

And point their Motions to the Paths of Truth.

Protect me by thy providential Care,

And teach my Soul t'avoid the Tempter's Snare.

Through all the varied Scenes of human Life,

In Calms of Ease, or blustring Storms of Grief;

Through every Turn of this inconstant State,

Preserve my Temper equal and sedate.

Give me a Mind that bravely dares despise

The low Designs and artifice of Vice.

Be my Religion such as taught by Thee,

Alike from Pride and Superstition free.

Inform my Judgment, rectify my Will,

Confirm my Reason, and my Passions still.

To gain thy Favour be my only End,

And to that Scope my ev'ry Action tend.

Amidst the Pleasures of a prosp'rous State,

Whose flatt'ring Charms too oft the Mind elate,

Still may I think to whom those Joys I owe,

And bless the bounteous Hand from whence they flow.

Or if an adverse Fortune be my Share,

Let not its Terrors tempt me to Despair;

But bravely arm'd a steady Faith maintain,

And own all best which thy Decrees ordain;

On thy Almighty Providence depend,

The best Protector, and the surest Friend.


Thus on Life's Stage may I my Part maintain,

And at my Exit thy Applauses gain.

When thy pale Herald summons me away,

Support me in that great Catastrophe:

In that last Conflict guard me from Alarms,

And take my Soul expiring to thy Arms.