How blest thy creature is, O God

How blest thy creature is, O God

Author: William Cowper
Published in 31 hymnals

Author: William Cowper

Cowper, William, the poet. The leading events in the life of Cowper are: born in his father's rectory, Berkhampstead, Nov. 26, 1731; educated at Westminster; called to the Bar, 1754; madness, 1763; residence at Huntingdon, 1765; removal to Olney, 1768; to Weston, 1786; to East Dereham, 1795; death there, April 25,1800. The simple life of Cowper, marked chiefly by its innocent recreations and tender friendships, was in reality a tragedy. His mother, whom he commemorated in the exquisite "Lines on her picture," a vivid delineation of his childhood, written in his 60th year, died when he was six years old. At his first school he was profoundly wretched, but happier at Westminster; excelling at cricket and football, and numbering Warren Hastin… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: How blest thy creature is, O God
Author: William Cowper

Notes

How blest Thy creature is, O God. W. Cowper. [The Blessedness of Peace with God.] Southey in his Memoirs and Correspondence of William Cowper, 1854, vol. i. pp. 99-104, gives an account of Cowper's insanity, his residence at St. Albans under the care of Dr. Cotton, and his partial recovery. At the beginning of his attack Cowper wrote a most painful poem, the nature and burden of which will be gathered from the following (the third) stanza, which reads:—

"Man disavows, and Deity disowns me,
Hell might afford my miseries a shelter;
Therefore, hell keeps her ever-hungry mouths all
Bolted against me."

In contrast to this despair Southey states that

"During this [the latter part of his stay with Dr. Cotton] part of his abode at St. Albans, he again poured out his feelings in Terse, and the contrast is indeed striking between what he called this specimen of his first Christian thoughts, and that song of despair [noted above] which cannot be perused without shuddering. He cast his thoughts in the form of a hymn, which he entitled ' The Happy Change,' and took for his text part of a verse in the Revelations, 'Behold, I make all things new.'"

The hymn composed under these circumstances, in July, 1765, is full of peace and hope, as evidenced in stanza iv.:—

"The soul, a dreary province once
Of Satan's dark domain,
Feels a new empire formed within,
And owns a heavenly reign."

The publication of the hymn in 6 stanzas of 4 lines with Cowper's original title, "The Happy Change," was in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Book iii., No. 44. In full or in part it is given in several hymn-books, especially in America. Sometimes it begins:—"How blest is man, O God," as in the American Unitarian Hymns for the Church of Christ, Boston, 1853.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Timeline

Instances

Instances (1 - 31 of 31)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
A Choice Selection of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians #711Page Scan
A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the Sanctuary #227Page Scan
A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the use of Universalist Societies and Families (13th ed.) #606Page Scan
A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the Use of Universalist Societies and Families 16ed. #606Page Scan
A Collection of Psalms and Hymns: from various authors, chiefly designed for public worship (4th ed.) #132Page Scan
A Collection of Psalms and Hymns: from Watts, Doddridge, and others (4th ed. with an appendix) #226Page Scan
A Selection of Hymns, from the Best Authors, Designed as a Supplement to Dr. Watts' Psalms and Hymns #d244
A Selection of Sacred Poetry: consisting of psalms and hymns from Watts, Doddridge, Merrick, Scott, Cowper, Barbauld, Steele, and others (2nd ed.) #226Page Scan
A Selection of Sacred Poetry: consisting of psalms and hymns, from Watts, Doddridge, Merrick, Scott, Cowper, Barbauld, Steele ...compiled for the use of the Unitarian Church in Philadelphia #226Page Scan
Chapel Hymns #d227
Congregational Hymn and Tune Book; containing the Psalms and Hymns of the General Association of Connecticut, adapted to Suitable Tunes #426Page Scan
Hymns for Christian Devotion: especially adapted to the Universalist denomination #258Page Scan
Hymns for Christian Devotion: especially adapted to the Universalist denomination. (New ed.) #258Page Scan
Hymns for the Church of Christ (3rd thousand) #278Page Scan
Hymns for the Church of Christ. (6th thousand) #278Page Scan
Hymns, Selected from Various Authors, for the Use of Young Persons 3rd Am. from 9th London ed. #d97
Hymns, Selected from Various Authors, for the Use of Young Persons #d88
Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes; for the use of Christian Congregations #50Page Scan
Psalms and Hymns, for Christian Use and Worship #H385Page Scan
Selection from Tate and Brady's Version of the Psalms; with Hymns by Various Authors, for the Church in Brattle-Square #d125
The American Seaman's Hymn Book: a Collection of Sacred Songs for the Use of Mariners #d83
The Baptist Hymn and Tune Book: being "The Plymouth Collection" enlarged and adapted to the use of Baptist churches #50Page Scan
The Christian Psalter #d225
The Lord's Songs: a collection of composures in metre, such as have been most used in the late glorious revivals; Dr. Watts' psalms and hymns excepted #LXXXVIIPage Scan
The Mozart Collection of Sacred Music: containing melodies, chorals, anthems and chants, harmonized in four parts; together with the celebrated Christus and Miserere by ZIngarelli #96Page Scan
The New Hymn Book, Designed for Universalist Societies: compiled from approved authors, with variations and additions (9th ed.) #163Page Scan
The New Hymn Book, Designed for Universalist Societies: compiled from approved authors, with variations and additions. Second Ed. #163Page Scan
The Philadelphia Hymn Book; or, a selection of sacred poetry, consisting of psalms and hymns from Watts...and others, adapted to public and private devotion #226Page Scan
The Springfield Collection of Hymns for Sacred Worship #367Page Scan
The Universalist Hymn Book: a New Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the Use of Universalist Societies. 4th ed. #d195
The Universalist Hymn-Book: a new collection of psalms and hymns, for the use of Universalist Societies (Stereotype ed.) #332Page Scan



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