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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Verse Musings on Nature, Faith, and Freedom (1889). I. Faith. I. On Defining God

John Owen (1836–1896)

OBSERVE yon concave blue,

That seems to close around our human view,

And ends by sun and star

Our keenest survey of those heavens afar.

And yet we know full well,

False is the specious tale our senses tell;

That is no azure sky,

Or solid vault, that meets our lifted eye.

What curtains round our gaze,

The background of the sun or starry maze,

Is but blue-tinted light

That veils from us the aërial infinite.

And so, when we define

Great heaven’s immensity by verbal sign,

We act as though our bent

Were here again to feign a firmament.

Words in array we place,

And deem therewith we see God face to face.

Poor fools, and blind; not seeing

Our words but mask and hide His unsearched Being.