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ODE ON ASTRONOMY; WRITTEN FOR THE PRIZE AT CAMBRIDGE, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Hail venerable night!
Last Line: A god the gods among.
Subject(s): Astronomy & Astronomers; Immortality; Mythology - Classical; Night; Sky; Stars; Bedtime

HAIL venerable night!
O first-created hail!
Thou who art doom'd in thy dark breast to veil
The dying beam of light.
The eldest and the latest thou,
Hail venerable night!
Around thine ebon brow,
Glittering plays with lightning rays
A wreath of flowers of fire.
The varying clouds with many a hue attire
The many-tinted veil.

Holy are the blue graces of thy zone!
But who is he whose tongue can tell
The dewy lustres which thine eyes adorn?
Lovely to some the blushes of the morn;
To some the glory of the day,
When blazing with meridian ray
The gorgeous sun ascends his highest throne;
But I with solemn and severe delight
Still watch thy constant car, immortal night!

For then to the celestial palaces
Urania leads, Urania, she
The goddess who alone
Stands by the blazing throne,
Effulgent with the light of deity.
Whom wisdom, the creatrix, by her side
Placed on the heights of yonder sky,
And smiling with ambrosial love, unlock'd
The depths of nature to her piercing eye.
Angelic myriads struck their harps around,
And with triumphant song
The host of stars, a beauteous throng,
Around the ever-living mind
In jubilee their mystic dance begun;
When at thy leaping forth, O sun!
The morning started in affright,
Astonished at thy birth, her child of light.

Hail O Urania hail!
Queen of the muses! mistress of the song!
For thou didst deign to leave the heavenly throng,
As earthward thou thy steps wert bending,
A ray went forth and harbingered thy way;
All ether laughed with thy descending.
Thou hadst wreathed thy hair with roses,
The flower that in the immortal bower
Its deathless bloom discloses.
Before thine awful mien, compell'd to shrink;
Fled ignorance abashed and all her brood;
Dragons, and hags of baleful breath,
Fierce dreams that wont to drink
The sepulchre's black blood;
Or on the wings of storms
Riding in fury forms
Shrieked to the mariner the shriek of death.

I boast, O goddess, to thy name
That I have raised the pile of fame!
Therefore to me be given
To roam the starry path of heaven,
To charioteer with wings on high
And to rein in the tempests of the sky.

Chariots of happy gods! fountains of light!
Ye angel-temples bright!
May I unblamed your flamy threshold tread?
I leave earth's lowly scene;
I leave the moon serene,
The lovely queen of night;
I leave the wide domains
Beyond where Mars his fiercer light can fling,
And Jupiter's vast plains,
(The many-belted king;)
Even to the solitude where Saturn reigns.
Like some stern tyrant to just exile driven;
Dim seen the sullen power appears
In that cold solitude of heaven,
And slow he drags along
The mighty circle of long-lingering years.

Nor shalt thou escape my sight,
Who at the threshold of the sun-trod domes
Art trembling,—youngest daughter of the night!
And you, ye fiery-tressed strangers, you
Comets who wander wide,
Will I along your pathless way pursue,
Whence bending I may view
The worlds whom elder suns have vivified.

For hope, with loveliest visions soothes my mind
That even in man, life's winged power,
When comes again the natal hour,
Shall on heaven-wandering feet
In undecaying youth,
Spring to the blessed seat;
Where round the fields of truth
The fiery essences for ever feed;
And o'er the ambrosial mead,
The breezes of serenity
Silent and soothing glide for ever by.

There priest of nature! dost thou shine
Newton! a king among the kings divine.
Whether with harmony's mild force,
He guides along its course
The axle of some beauteous star on high;
Or gazing in the spring
Ebullient with creative energy,
Feels his pure breast with rapturous joy possest,
Inebriate in the holy ecstasy!

I may not call thee mortal, then, my soul!
Immortal longings lift thee to the skies:
Love of thy native home inflames thee now,
With pious madness wise.
Know then thyself! expand thy wings divine!
Soon mingled with thy fathers thou shalt shine
A star amid the starry throng,
A god the gods among.

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