Hymn published in The Spectator
on August 23, 1712
, written by Joseph Addison
to accompany an article on rationalist Christianity
. The hymn is based on Psalm 19
, but adds a deliberate emphasis on the Argument from Design
. The hymn is sung either to the tune known as 'London
' or 'Addison's
', by J Sheeles
, in which case the last line of each verse is repeated once; or to 'Creation
' by Franz Josef Haydn
, better known as the chorus 'The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God
' from Die Schöpfung
, which is another version of Psalm 19.
The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
Th' unwearied Sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's powers display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail
The Moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening Earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In Reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
"The hand that made us is divine."