Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Verse Musings on Nature, Faith, and Freedom (1889).
I. Faith.
I. On Defining God
By John Owen (1836–1896)
  OBSERVE yon concave blue,
That seems to close around our human view,
  And ends by sun and star
Our keenest survey of those heavens afar.
  And yet we know full well,        5
False is the specious tale our senses tell;
  That is no azure sky,
Or solid vault, that meets our lifted eye.
  What curtains round our gaze,
The background of the sun or starry maze,        10
  Is but blue-tinted light
That veils from us the aërial infinite.
  And so, when we define
Great heaven’s immensity by verbal sign,
  We act as though our bent        15
Were here again to feign a firmament.
  Words in array we place,
And deem therewith we see God face to face.
  Poor fools, and blind; not seeing
Our words but mask and hide His unsearched Being.        20

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