11967. Begin, My Soul, Th'Exalted Lay

1 Begin, my soul, th’exalted lay,
Let each enraptured thought obey,
And praise th’Almighty’s name;
Lo! Heav’n and earth, and seas, and skies
In one melodious concert rise
To swell th’inspiring theme!

2 Ye fields of light, celestial plains,
Where gay transporting beauty reigns,
Ye scenes divinely fair!
Your maker’s wondrous power proclaim,
Tell how He formed your shining frame,
And breathed the fluid air.

3 Ye angels, catch the thrilling sound!
While all th’adoring throngs around
His wondrous mercy sing;
Let every listening saint above,
Wake all the tuneful soul of love,
And touch the sweetest string.

4 Join, ye loud spheres, the vocal choir!
Thou dazzling orb of liquid fire
The mighty chorus aid;
Soon as grey evening gilds the plain,
Thou moon, protract the melting strain,
And praise Him in the shade.

5 Thou, Heav’n of heav’ns, His vast abode,
Ye clouds, proclaim your forming God!
Ye thunders, speak His power!
Lo! on the lightning’s gleamy wing
In triumph walks th’eternal King,
Th’astonished worlds adore.

6 Whate’er the gazing eye can find,
The warms or soothes the musing mind,
United praise bestow;
Ye dragons, sound His dreadful name
To Heav’n aloud, and roar acclaim,
Ye swelling deeps, below!

7 Let every element rejoice:
Ye tempests, raise your mighty voice
Praise Him who bid you roll!
His praise in softer notes declare
Each whispering breeze of yielding air,
And breathe it to the soul.

8 To Him, ye graceful cedars, bow!
Ye towering mountains, bending low,
Your great creator own!
Tell, when affrighted nature shook,
How Sinai kindled at His look,
And trembled at His frown.

9 Ye flocks that haunt the humble vale,
Ye insects fluttering on the gale,
In mutual concourse rise!
Crop the gay rose’s vermeil bloom,
And waft its spoils, a sweet perfume,
In incense to the skies.

10 Wake, all ye mounting throngs, and sing!
Ye plumy warblers of the spring,
Harmonious anthems raise,
To Him who shaped your finer mold,
Who tipped your glittering wings with gold,
And tuned your voice to praise.

11 Let man, by nobler passions swayed,
The feeling heart, the judging head,
In heav’nly praise employ;
Spread His tremendous name around,
Till Heav’n’s broad arch ring back the sound,
The general burst of joy.

12 Ye, whom the charms of grandeur please,
Nursed on the silky lap of ease,
Fall prostrate at His throne!
Ye princes, rulers, all adore!
Praise Him, ye kings! who makes your power
An image of His own.

13 Ye fair, by nature formed to move,
O praise th’eternal source of love
With youth’s enlivening fire!
Let age take up the tuneful lay,
Sigh His blest name—then soar away,
And ask an angel’s lyre.

Text Information
First Line: Begin, my soul, th’exalted lay
Title: Begin, My Soul, Th'Exalted Lay
Author: John Ogilvie (1749)
Meter: 88.68.86
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain
Notes: Alternate tune: ARIEL by Wolfgang A. Mozart (repeats last line of each verse); The Author of this paraphrase was greatly surprised, upon looking over the Christian Magazine for September 1760, to find it inserted there, with an elegant introductory letter, and ascribed to an EMINENT PHYSICIAN. It was in truth written by Mr. Ogilvie, when he was very young, and was originally printed in the Scots Magazine for February 1753, and was dated from Edinburgh, where he happened at that time to spend the season for his education. He is greatly mistaken, if the initial letters of his name are not subjoined to the Poem. Some years afterwards it was sent to an eminent English Bookseller (who, if he happens to read this note, will recollect the fact); and as a few alterations were made in that copy, which are adopted verbatim in the Christian Magazine, the Author finds, that his manuscript, and not the printed copy, has fallen into the hands of some very modest gentleman. This affair is too trifling to be treated seriously. Only Mr. Ogilvie thought it necessary to assign the reason for which it appears in the present Collection. He owes an acknowledgement to the person who sent this piece to the Authors of the Christian Magazine, for the high panegyric which he is pleased to make on it it; but is afraid that he will not receive an acknowledgement from the EMINENT PHYSICIAN, for ascribing to HIM the performance of a boy of sixteen. John Ogilvie, Poems on Several Subjects Volume 1, page 109 London: George Pearch, 1769
Tune Information
Composer: James McGranahan (1903)
Meter: 88.68.86
Key: A Major
Copyright: Public Domain

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