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TO THE URSA MAJOR

BY HENRY WARE, JR.

With what a stately and majestic step That glorious constellation of the north Treinds its eternal circle! going forth Its princely way amongst the stars in slow And silent brightness. Mighty one, all hail ! I joy to see thee on thy glowing path Walk, like some stout and girded giant-stern, Unwearied, resolute, whose toiling foot Disdains to loiter on its destined way. The other tribes forsake their midnight track, And rest their weary orbs beneath the wave; But thou dost never close thy burning eye, Nor stay thy steadfast step. But on, still on, While systems change, and suns retire, and worlds Slumber and wake, thy ceaseless march proceeds. The near horizon tempts to rest in vain. Thou, faithful sentinel, dost never quit Thy long-appointed watch; but, sleepless still,

TO THE URSA MAJOR.

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Dost guard the fixed light of the universe,
And bid the north for ever know its place.

Ages have witnessed thy devoted trust,
Unchanged, unchanging. When the sons of God
Sent forth that shout of joy which rang through heaven,
And echoed from the outer spheres that bound
The illimitable universe, thy voice
Joined the high chorus; from thy radiant orbs
The glad cry sounded, swelling to His praise,
Who thus had cast another sparkling gem,
Little, but beautiful, amid the crowd
Of splendors that enrich his firmament.
As thou art now, so wast thou then the same.
Ages have rolled their course, and time grown gray;
The earth has gathered to her womb again,
And yet again, the myriads that were born
Of her uncounted, unremembered tribes;
The seas have changed their beds—the eternal hills
Have stooped with age—the solid continents
Have left their banks—and man's imperial works
The toil, pride, strength of kingdoms, which had flung
Their haughty honors in the face of heaven,
As if immortal-have been swept away,
Shattered and mouldering, buried and forgot.
But time has shed no dimness on thy front,
Nor touched the firmness of thy tread; youth, strength,
And beauty still are thineas clear, as bright,

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TO THE URSA MAJOR.

As when the Almighty Former sent thee forth,
Beautiful offspring of his curious skill,
To watch earth’s northern beacon, and proclaim
The eternal chorus of eternal Love.

I wonder as I gaze. That stream of light,
Undimmed, unquenched,—just as I see it now,-
Has issued from those dazzling points, through years
That go back far into eternity.
Exhaustless flood! for ever spent, renewed
For ever! Yea, and those refulgent drops,
Which now descend upon my lifted eye,
Left their far fountain twice three years ago.
While those winged particles, whose speed outstrips
The flight of thought, were on their way, the earth
Compassed its tedious circuit round and round,
And, in the extremes of annual change, beheld
Six autumns fade, six springs renew their bloom.
So far from earth those mighty orbs revolve !
So vast the void through which their beams descend !

Yea, glorious lamps of God! He may have quenched Your ancient flames, and bid eternal night Rest on your spheres; and yet no tidings reach This distant planet. Messengers still come Laden with your far fire, and we may seem To see your lights still burning; while their blaze But hides the black wreck of extinguished realms, Where anarchy and darkness long have reigned.

TO THE URSA MAJOR.

Yet what is this, which to the astonished mind Seems measureless, and which the baffled thought Confounds ? A span, a point, in those domains Which the keen eye can traverse. Seven stars Dwell in that brilliant cluster, and the sight Embraces all at once; yet each from each Recedes as far as each of them from earth. And every star from every other burns No less remote. From the profound of heaven, Untravelled even in thought, keen, piercing rays Dart through the void, revealing to the sense Systems and worlds unnumbered. Take the glass, And search the skies. The opening skies pour dowo Upon your gaze thick showers of sparkling fireStars, crowded, thronged, in regions so remote, That their swift beams—the swiftest things that be Have travelled centuries on their flight to earth. Earth, sun, and nearer constellations! what Are ye, amid this infinite extent And multitude of God's most infinite works!

And these are suns !-vast, central, living fires, Lords of dependent systems, kings of worlds That wait as satellites upon their power, And flourish in their smile. Awake, my soul, And meditate the wonder! Countless suns Blaze round thee, leading forth their countless worlds ! Worlds in whose bosoms living things rejoice,

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TO THE URSA MAJOR.

And drink the bliss of being from the fount
Of all-pervading Love. What mind can know,
What tongue can utter, all their multitudes !

Thus numberless in numberless abodes !
Known but to thee, blessed Father! Thine they are
Thy children, and thy care—and none o'erlooked
Of thee! No, not the humblest soul that dwells
Upon the humblest globe, which wheels its course
Amid the giant glories of the sky,
Like the mean mote that dances in the beam
Amongst the mirrored lamps, which fling
Their wasteful splendour from the palace wall —
None, none escape the kindness of thy care;
All compassed underneath thy spacious wing,
Each fed and guided by thy powerful hand.

Tell me, ye splendid orbs ! as from your throne,
Ye mark the rolling provinces that own
Your sway—what beings fill those bright abodes?
How formed, how gifted ? what their powers, their state,
Their happiness, their wisdom? Do they bear
The stamp of human nature? Or has God
Peopled those purer realms with lovelier forms
And more celestial minds? Does Innocence
Still wear her native and untainted bloom?
Or has Sin breathed his deadly blight abroad,
And sowed corruption in those fairy bowers ?
Has War trod o'er them with his foot of fire ?

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