The great worship

The harp at nature's advent strung

Author: John Greenleaf Whittier
Published in 44 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Full Text

1. The harp at Nature’s advent strung
Has never ceased to play;
The song the stars of morning sung
Has never died away.

2. And prayer is made, and praise is giv’n,
By all things near and far;
The ocean looketh up to Heav’n,
And mirrors every star.

3. Its waves are kneeling on the strand,
As kneels the human knee,
Their white locks bowing to the sand,
The priesthood of the sea!

4. They pour their glittering treasures forth,
Their gifts of pearl they bring,
And all the listening hills of earth
Take up the song they sing.

5. The green earth sends its incense up
From many a mountain shrine;
From folded leaf and dewy cup
She pours her sacred wine.

6. The mists above the morning rills
Rise white as wings of prayer;
The altar-curtains of the hills
Are sunset’s purple air.

7. The winds with hymns of praise are loud,
Or low with sobs of pain—
The thunder-organ of the cloud,
The dropping tears of rain.

8. With drooping head and branches crossed
The twilight forest grieves,
Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost
From all its sunlit leaves.

9. The blue sky is the temple’s arch,
Its transept earth and air,
The music of its starry march
The chorus of a prayer.

10. So Nature keeps the reverent frame
With which her years began,
And all her signs and voices shame
The prayerless heart of man.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #2491

Author: John Greenleaf Whittier

Whittier, John Greenleaf, the American Quaker poet, was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts, Dec. 17, 1807. He began life as a farm-boy and shoemaker, and subsequently became a successful journalist, editor and poet. In 1828 he became editor of the American Manufacturer (Boston), in 1830 of the New England Review, and an 1836 (on becoming Secretary to the American Anti-Slavery Society) of the Pennsylvania Freeman. He was also for some time, beginning with 1847, the corresponding editor of the National Era. In 1840 he removed to Amesbury, Massachusetts, where most of his later works have been written. At the present time [1890] he lives alternately at Amesbury and Boston. His first poetical piece was printed in the Newburyport Free Press in 182… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The harp at nature's advent strung
Title: The great worship
Author: John Greenleaf Whittier


EVAN (Havergal)

This tune is likely the work of the composer named here, but has also been attributed to others as shown in the instances list.

Go to tune page >


RAPHAEL (Oratory)



The Cyber Hymnal #2491
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)