Spacious Firmament on High (download)


Congregational hymn

A new setting of a favorite text of the Enlightenment. Grandeur and melody combine to elevate Addison’s hymn about the heavens.

Listen to a performance at the Cathedral of St. Paul, Marilyn Biery, organ

Preview the score:



The Spacious Firmament on High

Text: Joseph Addison, 1712
1 page


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.”

See also the hymn, There is a Yearning




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