“A Sovereign Protector” was written by Augustus Montague Toplady in 1774. Toplady is best known as author of “Rock of Ages, cleft for me.” “A Sovereign Protector” is in 8s with 8 lines per stanza. The stress is anapestic, so the hymn will sing quite well with the tune Greenfields (aka De Fleury, possibly most often sung with John Newton’s “How tedious and tasteless the hours”).
1. What, though my frail eyelids refuse,
Continual watching to keep,
And punctual as midnight renews,
Demand the refreshment of sleep;
A sov’reign Protector I have,
Unseen, yet forever at hand,
Unchangeably faithful to save,
Almighty to rule and command.
2. From evil secure and its dread,
I rest if my Saviour is nigh,
And songs his kind presence indeed
Shall in my night season supply;
He smiles, and my comforts abound,
His grace as the dew shall descend;
And walls of salvation surround
The soul he delights to defend.
3. Kind author and ground of my hope,
Thee, thee, for my God I avow;
My glad Ebenezer set up,
And own thou hast help’d me till now.
I muse on the years that are past,
Wherein my defence thou hast prov’d;
Nor wilt thou relinquish at last
A sinner so signally lov’d.
4. Inspirer and hearer of pray’r,
Thou shepherd and guardian of thine,
My all to thy covenant care
I sleeping and waking resign.
If Thou art my shield and my sun,
The night is no darkness to me;
And fast as my moments roll on,
They bring me but nearer to thee.
5. Thy minist’ring spirits descend,
To watch while thy saints are asleep,
By day and by night they attend,
The heir of salvation to keep;
Bright seraphs, dispatch’d from the throne,
Repair to the stations assign’d,
And angels elect are sent down,
To guard the elect of mankind.
6. Thy worship no interval knows,
Their fervor is still on the wing;
And while they protect my repose,
They chant to the praise of my king.
I, too, at the season ordain’d,
Their chorus for ever shall join;
And love and adore without end,Their faithful Creator, and mine.