Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thy praise shall be my business

Common Meter (8,6,8,6)

God of my life, look gently down,
Behold the pains I feel;
But I am dumb before Thy throne,
Nor dare dispute Thy will.

Diseases are thy servants, Lord,
They come at thy command;
I'll not attempt a murm'ring word
Against thy chast'ning hand.

Yet I may plead with humble cries,
Remove thy sharp rebukes;
My strength consumes, my spirit dies,
Through thy repeated strokes.

Crushed as a moth beneath thy hand,
We moulder to the dust;
Our feeble powers can ne'er withstand,
And all our beauty's lost.

This mortal life decays apace,
How soon the bubble's broke!
Adam and all his num'rous race
Are vanity and smoke.

I’m but a sojourner below,
As all my fathers were;
May I be well prepared to go
When I the summons hear.

But if my life be spared awhile,
Before my last remove,
Thy praise shall be my bus’ness still
And I’ll declare Thy love.

-- Isaac Watts, 1719

Note: In the 1991 Denson edition of The Sacred Harp, 3 verses of this hymn is set to Timothy Swan's majestic piece entitled Poland (1785).

No comments: