Monday, March 9, 2015

The Spacious Firmamaent

Joseph Addison Poem & Words from The Spec­ta­tor (Lon­don, Eng­land: Au­gust 23, 1712). The poem (now hymn) fol­lowed an es­say with this in­tro­duc­tion:
The Su­preme Be­ing has made the best ar­gu­ments for his own ex­ist­ence in the for­ma­tion of the heav­ens and the earth, and these are ar­gu­ments which a man of sense ca­nnot for­bear at­tend­ing to who is out of the noise and hur­ry of human af­fairs…The Psalm­ist has ve­ry beau­ti­ful strokes of po­e­try to this pur­pose in that ex­alt­ed strain (Psalm xix). As such a bold and sub­lime man­ner of Think­ing furn­ished out ve­ry no­ble Mat­ter for an Ode, the Read­er may see it wrought in­to the fol­low­ing one.

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
Th’unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator’s powers 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;
While 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 nor sound
Amid the 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.”

The tune CREATION is taken from the chorus “The Heavens Are Telling” from the oratorio The Creation (1798) by Franz Joseph Haydn.

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