Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)
1When night falls on the earth, the sea
2 From east to west lies twinkling bright
3With shining beams from beacons high
4 Which flash afar a friendly light.
5The sailor's eyes, like eyes in prayer,
6 Turn unto them for guiding ray:
7If storms obscure their radiance,
8 The great ships helpless grope their way.
9When night falls on the earth, the sky
10 Looks like a wide, a boundless main.
11Who knows what voyagers sail there?
12 Who names the ports they seek and gain?
13Are not the stars like beacons set
14 To guide the argosies that go
15From universe to universe,
16 Our little world above, below?--
17On their great errands solemn bent,
18 In their vast journeys unaware
19Of our small planet's name or place
20 Revolving in the lower air.
21O thought too vast! O thought too glad!
22 An awe most rapturous it stirs.
23From world to world God's beacons shine:
24 God means to save his mariners!
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Helen Jackson, Poems (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1892), pp. 237-38. PS 2107 P6 1892 Robarts Library.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/8
Other poems by Helen Hunt Jackson