1 The spacious firmament, that hangs on high,
The splendid glories of the spangled sky,
Fix'd in due order, clad in bright array,
The great, th' almighty architect, display.
2 From day to day, from night to night, they roll,
And pour conviction on the humble soul:
3 In them, surpriz'd, the various nations hear
The mighty God his ruling pow'r declare:
4 To regions most remote aloud they sound;
Their voice extends to earth's extremest bound.
5 High 'bove the rest, in his full radiance gay,
Comes forth th' englad'ning sun, to gild the day;
Like a young bridegroom, who, to charm his fair,
Adorns his body with the nicest care;
Exulting, like a giant, in his force,
He runs with vast rapidity, his course.
6 See, from the east his rosy car he drives
Lo! nature at his joyous beams revives;
See, o'er the wide expanse he wheels his way;
The whole creation at his presence gay.
7 But not alone these wonders strike with awe;
The Lord's as glorious in his sacred law;
His laws, which strictest purity impart,
His word that giveth wisdom to the heart;
8 His statutes that rejoice the humble soul,
His judgments that the ways of sin controul,
His precepts that enlight the pious breast,
His holy fear, that shall for ever last.
10 With them not e'en the richest sweets compare;
Than gold, than gems, of nobler price they are;
11 By them thy servant rules his inmost thought,
And the bright road to happiness is taught.
12 Yet who the errors of his heart can tell,
How oft 'gainst thee his secret thoughts rebel;
What vain ideas in his fancy play,
And o'er each word, each action, hold the sway?
O cleanse thy servant from the great offence;
13 O let him keep his truth, his innocence;
O from presumptuous guilt preserve him free,
And firm him in his own simplicity.
14 Grant, dear redeemer, this my fervent pray'r;
Whate'er my words, my meditations are,
To thee may they, a grateful incense, rise,
And meet with kind acceptance from thy eyes.