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August 17, 2005

145R O God, Our Help in Ages Past

Words: Isaac Watts (1719), alt.; Music: ST. ANNE (C.M.), William Croft (1708); Paraphrase of Psalm 90: 1-5.


1. O God, our help in a-ges past,
our hope for years to come,
our shel-ter from the stor-my blast,
and our e-ter-nal home.

2. Be-fore the hills in or-der stood,
or earth re-ceived its frame,
from ev-er-last-ing thou art God,
to end-less years the same.

3. Un-der the sha-dow of thy throne,
the saints have dwelt se-cure;
Suf-fi-cient is thine arm a-lone,
and our de-fense is sure.

4. A thou-sand a-ges in thy sight
are like an eve-ning gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
be-fore the ris-ing sun.

5. Time, like an ev-er roll-ing stream,
bears its chil-dren a-way;
They fly, for-got-ten, as a dream
dies at the open-ing day.

6. O God, our help in a-ges past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guard while trou-bles last,
and our e-ter-nal home. A-men

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Posted by rehurst at August 17, 2005 03:45 AM


What does the 3rd line of vs 5 mean? They fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.

Posted by: Harry G. Moore at April 19, 2007 11:53 AM

This is the passage from the Psalm 90 for which it is supposed to be a paraphrase:

"Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are [as] a sleep: in the morning [they are] like grass [which] groweth up."

The idea is that they fly ("are carried away") as a "dream" (cf. "as a sleep") dies at the "opening day," a moderately poetic way of saying "at the beginning of the day."

It seems to me I have to rearrange the line in the same verse "Bears its children away" to "Its children bears away" so that it matches the music. So many changes to make.


Posted by: Richard Hurst at August 26, 2007 09:02 PM

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