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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Hymn to the Stars

By Oliver William Bourne Peabody (1799–1848)

[Born in Exeter, N. H., 1799. Twin brother of Dr. Peabody. Died at Burlington, Vt., 1848. Attributed to O. W. B. P. It appeared in “The Christian Examiner,” 1824.]

AY, there ye shine, and there have shone

In one eternal hour of prime;

Each rolling, burningly alone,

Through boundless space and countless time!

Ay, there ye shine—the golden dews

That pave the realms by seraphs trod,

There through yon echoing vault diffuse

The song of choral worlds to God.

Ye visible spirits! bright as erst

Young Eden’s birthnight saw ye shine

On all her flowers and fountains first,

Yet sparkling from the hand divine;

Yes, bright as then ye smiled to catch

The music of a sphere so fair,

Ye hold your high immortal watch;

And gird your God’s pavilion there!

Gold frets to dust,—yet there ye are;

Time rots the diamond,—there ye roll,

In primal light, as if each star

Enshrined an everlasting soul!

And do they not—since yon bright throngs

One all-enlightening Spirit own,

Praised there by pure sidereal tongues,

Eternal, glorious, blessed, and lone?

Could man but see what ye have seen,

Unfold awhile the shrouded past,

From all that is, to what has been,

The glance how rich, the range how vast!

The birth of time—the rise, the fall

Of empires, myriads, ages flown,

Thrones, cities, tongues, arts, worships—all

The things whose echoes are not gone.

Ye saw rapt Zoroaster send

His soul into your mystic reign;

Ye saw the adoring Sabian bend—

The living hills his mighty fane!

Beneath his blue and beaming sky

He worshipped at your lofty shrine,

And deemed he saw, with gifted eye,

The Godhead in his works divine.

And there ye shine, as if to mock

The children of a mortal sire!

The storm, the bolt, the earthquake’s shock,

The red volcano’s cataract fire,

Drought, famine, plague, and flood, and flame,

All Nature’s ills (and Life’s worst woes),

Are naught to you—ye smile the same,

And scorn alike their dawn and close.

Ay, there ye roll—emblems sublime

Of Him, whose spirit o’er us moves,

Beyond the clouds of grief and crime,

Still shining on the world he loves;

Nor is one scene to mortals given,

That more divides the soul and sod,

Than yon proud heraldry of heaven—

Yon burning blazonry of God!