Pic from here
Nox Nocti Indicat Scientiam
1 When I survey the bright
2 Celestial sphere,
3 So rich with jewels hung, that night
4 Doth like an Ethiop bride appear,
5 My soul her wings doth spread
6 And heavenward flies,
7 Th’ Almighty’s mysteries to read
8 In the large volumes of the skies.
9 For the bright firmament
10 Shoots forth no flame
11 So silent, but is eloquent
12 In speaking the Creator’s name.
13 No unregarded star
14 Contracts its light
15 Into so small a character,
16 Remov’d far from our human sight,
17 But if we steadfast look,
18 We shall discern
19 In it, as in some holy book,
20 How man may heavenly knowledge learn.
21 It tells the conqueror
22 That far-stretch’d power
23 Which his proud dangers traffic for,
24 Is but the triumph of an hour.
25 That from the farthest north,
26 Some nation may
27 Yet undiscovered, issue forth
28 And o’er his new-got conquest sway.
29 Some nation yet shut in
30 With hills of ice
31 May be let out to scourge his sin
32 Till they shall equal him in vice.
33 And then they likewise shall
34 Their ruin have;
35 For as yourselves, your empires fall,
36 And every kingdom hath a grave.
37 Thus those celestial fires,
38 Though seeming mute,
39 The fallacy of our desires
40 And all the pride of life confute.
41 For they have watch’d since first
42 The world had birth;
43 And found sin in itself accurst,
44 And nothing permanent on earth.
by William Habington
1] The title is from Psalms xix.2: “night unto night sheweth knowledge.”
4] Cf. Romeo and Juliet I.v.48-49.
25-32] Cf. Jeremiah i.15.
I studied at high school when a tv program about science showed this poem.
When I read these beautiful words I feel again that emotion I felt first time I read them.
I completely agree with Mr. Habigton.
It’s so moving, indeed!