The night is come, and all the world is still.
Men say it is a time for sleep and dreams;
But now she throws no pall upon the space
That spreads above me, like the God-like face
Of Him Who looms behind it all. Meseems
This is the hour for man to bend the knee
Of the full soul to the Divinity.
Above, below, on every side there hang
These circling orbs. And out of keenest sight
A myriad more pursue their pathless way
Unerring, through the awful space, where day
Is not, but an unending fearful night
Shrouds the immensity. My GOD! the soul
Of man should faint could he but see the whole!
Sublimest silence. Yet 'tis broke, for near
Some sparrow stirs the ivy on the wall,
Calling me back to take account of this
We little folk call 'life': to ask if bliss
For us or sparrow be not all too small
For Him to take account of, where He stands
Holding the boundless heavens in His hands?
Only, for Thee is neither great nor small!
'Tis human weakness but to count Thee so
As I, poor mortal, find myself: the slave
Of Time, himself but hastening to the grave.
And Thou canst teach the tender blade to grow
On this small world,--and with an equal might
Guide the low sweeping of the swallow's flight,
Or hurl new systems from Thee. Thou art great,
But smallness is a word of human ken!
Trembling, my soul remembers this, and dares
To breathe into the universe its prayers.
For Thou art in the night, Thou Sun! and when
We dwell in darkness of the mind, 'tis we
That turn our faces from Thy radiancy.
Seeing Thee there, I cannot lose the way
Even in trackless places, where the soul
Shivers to feel itself imprison'd here
In the least part of some least rolling sphere.
Whither we rush218218See Note, we know not; but the goal
To Thee is known. Hold Thou me up, as Thou
Holdest the universe above me now!
Yet nearer. Come Thou nearer than to them!
Blindly they follow Thy behest, but I
Yearn for Thee strongly through my fleshly frame.
And so, encompass'd with our flesh, He came,
Thy Son, Thyself--to make less far and high
The distant Godhead. Now Thy heavens declare
No far Creator, but a Father there!