January 03, 2006

380R God of the Ages, Known of Old

Old Title: "God of our Fathers, Known of Old," Rudyard Kipling (1897), FOLKINGHAM,, from the Supplement to the New Version, Nahum Tate & Nicholas Brady (1700), alt. MELITA,, John Bacchus Dykes (1861); New Title: "God of the Ages, Know of Old," rev. REH (2006), FOLKINGHAM, The words were originally written as the poem "Recessional," and published in the London Times during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration. They were also sung at Kipling’s funeral, under the title "God of our Fathers, Known of Old." They have been "modernized" and made "American" here, with the funeral of former President Gerald Ford in mind (though many other uses suggest themselves).


1. God of the a-ges, known of old;
You of our far-flung bat-tle line,
be-neath whose aw-ful hand we hold
do-mi-nion ov-er palm and pine:
God of our fa-thers, be here yet,
lest we for-get, lest we for-get!

2. The tu-mult and the shout-ing dies;
The cap-tains and news crews de-part:
Still stands an an-cient sa-cri-fice,
a hum-ble and a con-trite heart.
God of our moth-ers, be here yet,
lest we for-get, lest we for-get!

3. Far called, the na-vies melt a-way,
on dune and head-land sinks the fire:
Lo, all the pomp of yes-ter-day
is one with Ni-ne-veh and Tyre!
Judge of the na-tions, spare us yet,
lest we for-get, lest we for-get!

4. If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
wild tongues that have not you in awe,
such boast-ings as the pride-ful use,
or ones who have ig-nored your law:
O God of hosts, be with us yet,
lest we for-get, lest we for-get!

5. Un-think-ing hearts that put their trust
in blink-ing screen and ir-on shard,
all val-iant dust that builds on dust,
and guard-ing, calls not you to guard,
for fran-tic boast and fool-ish word:
Have mer-cy on all peo-ple, God!

Word Score
PDF Score
Noteworthy Composer File

All materials may be reproduced for non-profit local and congregational use. We request notification of use, in addition to notification of any changes made when materials are used so we might benefit from the insight of others. Any materials used or reproduced in any way must bear the notation "(c) 2006 Richard E. Hurst, for non-profit local and congregational use only, all other rights reserved."

Posted by rehurst at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack