April 15, 2005
38R The Harp at Nature's Advent Strung
Original Title: "The Harp at Nature's Advent Strung," John Greenleaf Whittier, EVAN, C.M., William Henry Havergal, arranged by Lowell Mason (1850); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), LLANGLOFLAN, 18.104.22.168., Welsh Hymn Melody. Whittier was an anti-slavery Quaker and poet, who was secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Though born in Boston, he lived in Philadelphia where he edited the Pennsylvania Freeman. The complete, original poem, called "The Worship of Nature" contains ten verses, rather than the six below, or the five in Hymns of the Spirit Two and the five in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 74 (It is not contained in The New Century Hymnal). Though anthologized in The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier, (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1894), the poem was first published in 1867. "All the earth . . . make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, . . . Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 98:4-7 "You have kept the good wine until now," John 2:10, Nehemiah 8:10.
1. The harp at Na-ture's ad-vent strung
has never ceas-ed to play;
the song the stars of morn-ing sung
has ne-ver died a-way.
And prayer is made, and praise is given,
by all things near and far;
the o-cean look-eth up to heaven,
and mirr-ors eve-ry star.
2. Its waves are kneel-ing on the strand,
as kneels the hu-man knee,
their white locks bow-ing to the sand,
the priest-hood of the sea!
The green earth sends its in-cense up
from many a moun-tain shrine;
from fold-ed leaf and de-wy cup
and pours a sacr-ed wine.
3. The blue sky is the tem-ple's arch,
its tran-sept earth and air,
the mu-sic of its star-ry march
the cho-rus of a prayer.
So Na-ture keeps the re-verent frame
with which the years be-gan,
and all the signs and voi-ces shame
the prayer-less heart a-gain.
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