Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
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Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
 
William Habington
 
98. Nox nocti indicat Scientiam. DAVID
 
    WHEN I survay the bright 
        Coelestiall spheare: 
So rich with jewels hung, that night 
Doth like an Æthiop bride appeare. 
  
    My soule her wings doth spread         5
        And heaven-ward flies, 
Th'Almighty's Mysteries to read 
In the large volumes of the skies. 
  
    For the bright firmament 
        Shootes forth no flame  10
So silent, but is eloquent 
In speaking the Creators name. 
  
    No unregarded star 
        Contracts its light 
Into so small a Charactar,  15
Remov'd far from our humane sight: 
  
    But if we stedfast looke, 
        We shall discerne 
In it as in some holy booke, 
How man may heavenly knowledge learne.  20
  
    It tells the Conqueror, 
        That farre-stretcht powre 
Which his proud dangers traffique for, 
Is but the triumph of an houre. 
  
    That from the farthest North,  25
        Some Nation may 
Yet undiscovered issue forth, 
And ore his new got conquest sway. 
  
    Some Nation yet shut in 
        With hils of ice  30
May be let out to scourge his sinne 
'Till they shall equall him in vice. 
  
    And then they likewise shall 
        Their ruine have, 
For as your selves your Empires fall,  35
And every Kingdome hath a grave. 
  
    Thus those Coelestiall fires, 
        Though seeming mute, 
The fallacie of our desires 
And all the pride of life confute.  40
  
    For they have watcht since first 
        The World had birth: 
And found sinne in it selfe accurst, 
And nothing permanent on earth. 
 
 
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