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Isaac Watts

(17 July 1674 – 25 November 1748 / Southampton / England)

Psalm 104


The glory of God in creation and providence.

My soul, thy great Creator praise:
When clothed in his celestial rays,
He in full majesty appears,
And, like a robe, his glory wears.

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.

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.

The world's foundations by his hand
Are poised, and shall for ever stand;
He binds the ocean in his chain,
Lest it should drown the earth again.

When earth was covered with the flood,
Which high above the mountains stood,
He thundered, and the ocean fled,
Confined to its appointed bed.

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

He bids the crystal fountains flow,
And cheer the valleys as they go;
Tame heifers there their thirst allay,
And for the stream wild asses bray.

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.

PAUSE I.

God from his cloudy cistern pours
On the parched earth enriching showers;
The grove, the garden, and the field,
A thousand joyful blessings yield.

He makes the grassy food arise,
And gives the cattle large supplies
With herbs for man of various power,
To nourish nature or to dire.

What noble fruit the vines produce!
The olive yields a shining juice;
Our hearts are cheered with gen'rous wine,
With inward joy our faces shine.

O bless his name, ye Britons, fed
With nature's chief supporter, bread;
While bread your vital strength imparts,
Serve him with vigor in your hearts.

PAUSE II.

Behold, the stately cedar stands,
Raised in the forest by his hands;
Birds to the boughs for shelter fly,
And build their nests secure on high.

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.

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.

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

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

How strange thy works! how great thy skill!
And every land thy riches fill:
Thy wisdom round the world we see;
This spacious earth is full of thee.

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

There ships divide their wat'ry way,
And flocks of scaly monsters play;
There dwells the huge leviathan,
And foams and sports in spite of man.

PAUSE III.

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.

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.

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 is thine.

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.

His works, the wonders of his might,
Are honored with his own delight;
How aweful are his glorious ways!
The Lord is dreadful in his praise.

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 sovereign grace.

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

While haughty sinners die accursed,
Their glory buried with their dust,
I to my God, my heav'nly King,
Immortal hallelujahs sing.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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