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Treasury of Sacred Song
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CCCLXXXVII

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!


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