My soul, thy great Creator praise

Full Text

1 My soul, thy great Creator praise;
When cloth'd in his celestial rays,
He in full majesty appears,
And like a robe his glory wears.

2 The heav’ns are for his curtains spread;
The unfathomed deep he makes his bed.
Clouds are his chariot when he flies
On winged storms across the skies.

3 Angels, whom his own breath inspires,
His ministers, are flaming fires;
And swift as thought their armies move
To bear his vengeance or his love.

4 The world’s foundation by his hand
Is pois'd, and shall for ever stand;
He binds the ocean in his chain,
Lest it should drown the earth again.

5 When earth was cover'd by the flood,
Which high above the mountains stood,
He thunder'd, and the ocean fled,
Confin'd to its appointed bed.

6 The swelling billows know their bound,
And in their channels walk their round;
Yet thence convey'd by secret veins,
They spring on hills, and drench the plains.

7 He bids the crystal fountains flow,
And cheers the valleys as they go;
There gentle herds their thirst allay,
And for the stream wild asses bray.

8 From pleasant trees which shade the brink,
The lark and linnet light to drink;
Their songs the lark and linnet raise,
And chide our silence in his praise.

9 God from his cloudy cistern pours
On the parch'd earth enriching show'rs;
The grove, the garden, and the field,
A thousand joyful blessings yield.

10 He makes the grassy food arise,
And gives the cattle large supplies;
With herbs for man of various pow'r,
To nourish nature, or to cure.

11 What noble fruit the vines produce!
The olive yields in shining juice;
Our hearts are cheer'd with gen'rous wine,
His gifts proclaim his love divine..

12 His bounteous hands our table spread,
He fills our cheerful stores with bread;
While food our vital strength imparts,
Let daily praise inspire our hearts.

13 Behold the stately cedar stands
Rais'd in the forest by his hands:
Birds to the boughs for shelter fly,
And build their nests secure on high.

14 To craggy hills, ascends the goat;
And at the airy mountain’s foot
The feebler creatures make their cell;
He gives them wisdom where to dwell.

15 He sets the sun his circling race,
Appoints the moon to change her face;
And when thick darkness veils the day,
Calls out wild beasts to hunt their prey.

16 Fierce lions lead their young abroad,
And roaring ask their meat from God;
But when the morning beams arise,
The savage beasts to coverts flies.

17 Then man to daily labour goes;
The night was made for his repose:
Sleep is thy gift, that sweet relief
From tiresome toil and wasting grief.

18 How strange thy works! How great thy skill!
And ev'ry land thy riches fill:
Thy wisdom round the world we see,
This spacious earth is full of thee.

19 Nor less thy glories in the deep,
Where fish in millions swim and creep,
With wond'rous motions swift or slow,
Still wand'ring in the paths below.

20 There ships divide their wat'ry way,
And flocks of scaly monsters play;
The huge leviathan resides,
And fearless sports amid the tides.

21 Vast are thy works, almighty Lord,
All nature rests upon thy word,
And the whole race of creatures stands,
Waiting their portion from thy hands.

22 While each receives his diff'rent food,
Their cheerful looks pronounce it good;
Eagles and bears, and whales and worms
Rejoice and praise in diff'rent forms.

23 But when thy face is hid they mourn,
And dying to their dust return;
Both man and beast their souls resign;
Life, breath and spirit, all are thine.

24 Yet thou canst breathe on dust again,
And fill the world with beasts and men;
A word of thy creating breath
Repairs the wastes of time and death.

25 His works, the wonders of his might,
Are honour'd with his own delight:
How awful are his glorious ways!
The Lord is dreadful in his praise.

26 The earth stands trembling at thy stroke,
And at thy touch the mountains smoke;
Yet humble souls may see thy face,
And tell their wants to sov'reign grace.

27 In thee my hopes and wishes meet,
And make my meditations sweet:
Thy praises shall my breath employ
Till it expire in endless joy.

28 While haughty sinners die accurst,
Their glory buri'd with their dust,
I to my God my heav'nly King,
Immortal hallelujahs sing.

Source: Church Hymn Book: consisting of newly composed hymns with the addition of hymns and psalms, from other authors, carefully adapted for the use of public worship, and many other occasions (1st ed.) #P.CIV

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: My soul, thy great Creator praise
Author: Isaac Watts
Meter: 8.8.8.8.8.8
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Great is the Lord; what tongue can frame

Notes

My soul, thy great Creator praise. Sir J. Denham and I. Watts. [Psalms 104.] First published in Watts's Psalms of David, &c, 1719 in 28 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "The glory of God in Creation and Providence." In a note he says:

"Several Lines in this Psalm I have borrow'd of Sir John Denham; if I have made the Connection more evident, and the Sense more easy and useful to an ordinary Reader, I have attained my End, and leave others to judge whether I have dishonour'd his Verse, or improved it," p. 274.

The lines borrowed from Sir J. Denham's version of 1714 are stanzas i., ii., iii., vii., ll. 1, 2 ; xxviii., ll.3,4. The paraphrase naturally from its great length is not in common use, but the following centos therefrom are in several hymnbooks in Great Britain and America:—
1. Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame? This cento, in the Andover Sabbath Hymn Book, 1858, and other American collections, is made up of odd lines from Watts's portion of the paraphrase somewhat freely altered. In some hymnals stanza ii. of this cento is omitted.
2. My soul, thy great Creator praise. This cento in the Leeds Hymn Book, 1853, 4 stanzas, is thus composed: stanzas i., ii. Sir John Denham, and the rest by Watts; in the New Congregational Hymn Book, 1859, 8 stanzas, stanzas i., ii. are by Denham, and the rest by Watts; and in Dale's English Hymn Book, 1874, stanzas i.—iii., are by Sir J. Denham, and iv., v. by Watts.
3. Vast are Thy works, Almighty Lord. Of this cento in Martineau's Hymns, 1840, No. 127, ll. 1, 2 of stanza iii. are by Sir J. Denham, and the rest by Watts.
These centos, taken together, are in somewhat extensive use.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

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