Lock'd in the arms of balmy sleep

First Line Lock'd in the arms of balmy sleep
Author Elizabeth Amherst Thomas
Date 1760

Prayer; Lyric [Nature; Devotional writing, religious belief]; original.

Transcribed from Thomas, Elizabeth Amherst. "A Sacred Lyric, On being wak'd in the night of February 3d 1749, by a violent storm of Thunder and Lightning." The Christian's magazine, or A treasury of divine knowledge, vol. 1, 1760, pp. 437–438. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0125868993.



Lock'd in the arms of balmy sleep,

From ev'ry care of day,

As silent as the folded sheep,

And as secure I lay.


Sudden, tremendous thunders roll;

Quick lightnings round me glare;

The solemn scene alarms my soul,

And wakes the heart to prayer.


What e'er, O Lord, at this still hour,

These awful sounds portend,

Whether sole ensigns of thy power,

Or groans for nature's end;


Grant me to bear with equal mind,

These terrors of the sky;

For ever, as thou wilt, resign'd,

Alike to live or die.


If, wak'd by thy vindictive hand,

This mighty tempest stirs;

That peal, the voice of thy command,

These flames thy messengers:


Welcome the bolt, where e'er it fall,

Beneath the passing sun;

Thy righteous will determines all,

And let that will be done.


But if, as nature's laws ordain,

Nor destin'd by thy will,

Each bolt exerts its wide domain,

Self-authoriz'd to kill.


Quick interpose, all-gracious Lord,

In this remorseless night;

Arise, and be alike ador'd

For mercy, as for might.


Vouchsafe, amidst this time of dread,

Thy suppliant's voice to hear:

O shield from harm each friendly head,

And all my soul holds dear.


Let it not kill where riot foul

Pours forth the drunken jest:

Nor where the guilt-envenom'd soul

Starts wild from troubled rest.


A while O spare those sinful breasts,

Whose deeds the night deform,

Nor strike where smiling virtue rests,

Unconscious of the storm.


Succour the couch where beauty lies,

All pale with tender fear;

Where sickness lifts its languid eye;

O pour thy comforts there!


Nor useless waste this moral night,

Like common hours, away;

But glow with wisdom's sacred light,

More fair than orient day.


Warm'd by each flash, may virtue rise,

And with its glories spread,

While ev'ry blasted bud of vice

Shrinks in new terrors dead.


So on that awful judgment day,

Whose image shakes the soul,

Tho' keenest lightning shoot their ray,

And loudest thunders roll;


Well pleas'd, O Lord, each eye shall see

Those final thunders hurl'd,

And mark with joy, for love of Thee,

That flash which melts the world.