Daniel Tobin reads
A Song of the Cosmos
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Hard-striving soul, greet the wayfaring stranger, To the keen-sighted singer give welcoming words, Question the questing one of all the worlds before, Implore him to tell of incalculable creations, The innate artful forces forever quickening The day after day under God’s dominion Bring wonder laid baring to faring generations. Day to day each makes its mark manifest To one who with wisdom beholds the world whole In the mind’s clasp—the one who contemplates What other gave voice to long ago IN thrumming rhythms and wide-reckoning songs: Those kinsmen whose ken was strong, who with glee And searching wit—with their bearing witness— Drew forth common humankind’s fullest measure, Full mindful themselves of the weave of mysteries. To love therefore a probing and emboldened life One should fathom the world-trove’s buried ends, Should scribe into mind the word-hoards might and skill, Make thought a strong march and meditate steadfastly So the noble servant will never grow way-worn, Tholling in wisdom through each earthly arrival. School yourself in these sciences! Now let me sing Of the Given’s glory, that like wind through sedge Outstrips your art, though the heart grasps it By staying steady—is your soul’s heft stout enough? It is not with human scales, inconsistent scud of dust, That one weighs the portion his wit strains to grasp Of the most-high work: the code of God’s design. For we shall thank the Chief of All, Unbounded, From always back to Nil so the everlasting King May astonish with radiance, shearing off all want, So that, knuckled-down, we may scale the high walls Choosing as hand holds the heavenly King’s word. Take hold of what you are! Hear my song of marvels! Listen! In the creation’s quick the almighty Father, The cosmic hoard’s Keeper, authored heaven and earth, The sea’s breadth and depth, and everything one sees That at this moment lifts up its thrum of praise, The gathered consort held in the holiest Hands. In this way, with the windward of this forethought, God assembles all together, the whole ensemble— Oarsmen tuned strictly to the Steersman’s many measures— So the realms bear up, bear onward through all becoming. So through tome’s tides the great Lord’s noble throng Carry across to the world His fulgent emanations, His works’ eminence, his glory’s dawn-mantle; Steadfastly they mount the Master’s endless Song From thrones first fashioned by Heaven’s utter Guardian. With all they are they hold gladly the splendid course. His rowing is might. It quickens the welkin’s candles, Begets the teeming oceans—with one gesture, Prolific, He holds and calls and leads all life Who harbors in his breast the abundant womb of All. So never-ending He abides, Abound Splendor, Of all judges most gentle, mercy’s full measure, Who forges life in us. And this lightsome shimmer Moves morning to morning through night’s misty slopes, Passing over waters wondrously adorned, And from dawn’s east it hastens luminously west, Brilliant and beguiling to each new generation. For everything living it engenders its light, Each one of us on earth given the eyes to see, Being entrusted with sight by victory’s true King. Then together with its train the star’s blinding brilliance Dies away beyond the western door, exalted star Whose sail skirts the ether like a shining shire, Until with dim descent the gloaming summons night From ocean’s depths—as second shadowing That holds in store the Master’s adamant command, So the wayfaring sun follows along God’s course And bends to the boson of the earth’s embrace. No one, therefore, with all mind’s precious wisdom, Can discern while they live the living Font from which This flow glories forth, from where the gold-reined sun Fares forward beyond earth into darkening mists, Descending deeper under waters’ thronging waves, Or who of those who dwell in light and on land Call themselves content after it roams over the brim. So therefore the One who known full well the way To fix together daytime, nighttime, depth and height, Sky-road and river, the waves and solid land, Floodtides and fields, the fish and all their waters— His works do not weaken. Upheld by healing Hands, They stand steadfast, fastened unbreakably By a net of bonds through the Bright Abounding That leavens and sustains the heavens and the earth. They are rife with blessedness who bide in that estate, Those who crowd beside the hearth, the hallowed— I am mute to say—those numberless angelic throngs. What they see with their eyes is an everlasting feast, Their King encompassing the circuit of their gaze For in Him there is no scintilla of shadow For they perceive plainly in sonorous resplendence The King of All Wonders. So ecstasy and peace Befit the joyous in the plenty of time’s Plenitude. Everyone born should remember this therefore: Keep earshot of the measure made deathless by the One, Forget Life’s idle longings, its lissome delights, Let it draw you, striving to that utmost loving Bliss One finds when one fares to the Excellent Kingdom; Leave behind isolation, self-born suffering, Forsake your harbored malice—let them all drift away.