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THE spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What, though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball;
What, though no real voice or sound
Amidst their radiant orbs be found,
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
"The hand that made us is Divine."
T)EAUTIFUL are the heralds
-D That stand at Nature's door,
Crying, "O traveller, enter in,
And taste the Master's store!"
One or the other always crying,—
In the voice of the summer hours, In the thunder of the winter storm,
Or the song of the fresh spring flowers.
"Enter," they cry, "to a kingly feast,
Where all may venture near; A million beauties for the eye,
And music for the ear:
Only, before thou enterest in,
Upon the threshold fall,
And pay the tribute of thy praise
"To Him who gives thee all.'"
So some kneel down and enter
With reverent step and slow; And calm airs fraught with precious scent
Breathe round them as they go: Gently they pass 'mid sight and sound
And the sunshine round them sleeping, ~To where the angels, Faith and Love,
The inner gates are keeping.
Then backward rolls the wondrous screen That hides the secret place,
Where the God of Nature veils Himself
In the brighter realms of grace : —
But they who have not bent the knee
Will smile at this my story:
For, though they enter the temple gates,
They know not the inner glory.
W. E. Littlewood
THE GLORY OF GOD /AT CREATION
art, O God! the life and light -L Of all this wondrous world we see; Its glow by day, its smile by night,
Are but reflections caught from Thee.
Where'er we turn thy glories shine,
And all things fair and bright are thine.
When day, with farewell beam, delays
Among the opening clouds of even,
And we can almost think we gaze
Through golden vistas into heaven, —
Those hues, that make the sun's decline
So soft, so radiant, Lord ! are thine.
When night, with wings of starry gloom,
O'ershadows all the earth and skies,
Like some dark, beauteous bird, whose plume
Is sparkling with unnumbered eyes, —
That sacred gloom, those fires divine,
So grand, so countless, Lord! are thine.
When youthful spring around us breathes,
Thy Spirit warms her fragrant sigh; And every flower the summer wreathes
Is born beneath that kindling eye. Where'er we turn Thy glories shine, And all things fair and bright are Thine.
NATURE AND HEAVEN
I PRAISED the earth, in beauty seen
With garlands gay of various green;
I praised the sea, whose ample field
Shone glorious as a silver shield;
And earth and ocean seemed to say,
"Our beauties are but for a day."
I praised the sun, whose chariot rolled
On wheels of amber, and of gold;
I praised the moon, whose softer eye
Gleamed sweetly through the summer sky;
And moon, and sun, in answer said,
"Our days of light are numbered."
O God! O good beyond compare!
If thus Thy meaner works are fair,
If thus Thy bounties gild the span
Of ruined earth, and sinful man,
How glorious must the mansion be,
Where Thy redeemed shall dwell with Thee!
THE BETTER LAND
"T HF.AR thee speak of the better land;
J. Thou call'st its children a happy band;
Mother! O where is that radiant -shore, —
Shall we not seek it and weep no more?
Is it where the flower of the orange blows,
And the fire-flies glance through the myrtle boughs?"
"Not there, not there, my child!"
"Is it where the feathery palm-trees rise,
And the date grows ripe under sunny skies,
Or 'midst the green islands of glittering seas
Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,
And strange, bright birds on their starry wings
Bear the rich hues of all glorious things?"
"Not there, not there, my child!"
"Is it far away in some region old
Where the rivers wander o'er sands of gold,—
Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,
And the diamond lights up the secret mine,
And the pearl gleams forth from the coral strand,—
Is it there, sweet mother, that better land?"
"Not there, not there, my child!
"Eye hath not seen it, my gentle boy!
Ear hath not heard its deep songs of joy,
Dreams cannot picture a world so fair,—
Sorrow and death may not enter there;
Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom,
For beyond the clouds, and beyond the tomb,
It is there, it is there, my child!"