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The Heavens Above Us (An Astrologer's Song)

[words Rudyard Kipling, music Peter Bellamy]

An Astrologer's Song is a poem from Rudyard Kipling's book Rewards and Fairies. Peter Bellamy with counter-tenor Dik Cadbury and bass Chris Birch sang it under the title The Heavens Above Us on his second album of songs set to Kipling's poems, Merlin's Isle of Gramarye. He commented in the album's sleeve notes:

The Heavens Above Us (An Astrologer's Song) is the companion piece to Our Fathers of Old, both coming from the story A Doctor of Medicine which concerns the methods and beliefs of the Seventeenth Century herbalist and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper. The organ and counter-tenor parts were arranged by Dolly Collins, and the bass voice and violin scores were added by Chris Birch.


To the Heavens above us
Oh, look and behold
The planets that love us
All harnessed in gold!
What chariots, what horses,
Against us shall bide
While the Stars in their courses
Do fight on our side?

All thought, all desires,
That are under the sun,
Are one with their fires,
As we also are one;
All matter, all spirit,
All fashion, all frame,
Receive and inherit
Their strength from the same.

(Oh, man that deniest
All power save thine own,
Their power in the highest
Is mightily shown.
Not less in the lowest
That power is made clear.
Oh, man, if thou knowest,
What treasure is here!)

Earth quakes in her throes
And we wonder for why!
But the blind planet knows
When her ruler is nigh;
And, attuned since Creation,
To perfect accord,
She thrills in her station
And yearns to her Lord.

The waters have risen,
The springs are unbound—
The floods break their prison,
And ravin around.
No rampart withstands 'em,
Their fury will last,
Till the Sign that commands 'em
Sinks low or swings past.

Through abysses unproven,
And gulfs beyond thought,
Our portion is woven,
Our burden is brought.
Yet They that prepare it,
Whose Nature we share,
Make us who must bear it
Well able to bear.

Though terrors o'ertake us
We'll not be afraid,
No Power can unmake us
Save that which has made.
Nor yet beyond reason
Nor hope shall we fall—
All things have their season,
And Mercy crowns all.

Then, doubt not, ye fearful—
The Eternal is King—
Up, heart, and be cheerful,
And lustily sing:
What chariots, what horses,
Against us shall bide
While the Stars in their courses
Do fight on our side?