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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By John Sterling (1806–1844)

When up to nightly skies we gaze

WHEN 1 up to nightly skies we gaze,
Where stars pursue their endless ways,
We think we see from earth’s low clod
The wide and shining home of God.
But could we rise to moon or sun,        5
Or path where planets duly run,
Still heaven would spread above us far,
And earth remote would seem a star.
This earth with all its dust and tears
Is His no less than yonder spheres;        10
And raindrops weak, and grains of sand,
Are stamped by His immediate hand.
The rock, the wave, the little flower,—
All fed by streams of living power
That spring from one almighty will,—        15
Whate’er His thought conceives fulfil.
We view those halls of painted air,
And own Thy presence makes them fair;
But nearer still to Thee, O Lord,
Is he whose thoughts with thine accord.        20
Note 1. The Rev. John Sterling was a brilliant Cambridge man who for a time became curate to Julius Hare at Hurstmonceaux. He will owe what fame he retains to Carlyle’s life of him. [back]