As birds their infant brood protect

Author: William Cowper
Published in 31 hymnals

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Representative Text

1 As birds their infant brood protect
And spread their wings to shelter them;
Thus saith the Lord to his elect,
"So shall I guard Jerusalem."

2 And what then is Jerusalem,
This darling object of his care?
Where is its worth in God's esteem?
Who built it?--who inhabits there?

3 Jehovah founded it in blood,
The blood of his incarnate Son;
There dwell the saints, once foes to God
The sinners whom he calls his own.

4 There, though besieged on every side,
Yet much beloved and guarded well;
From age to age they have defied
The utmost force of earth and hell.

5 Let earth repent, and hell despair,
This city hath a sure defense;
Her name is called "The Lord is there,"
And who has power to drive them thence.

A Selection of Hymns, from Various Authors, Supplementary for the Use of Christians. 1st ed., 1816

Author: William Cowper

William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper"; b. Berkampstead, Hertfordshire, England, 1731; d. East Dereham, Norfolk, England, 1800) is regarded as one of the best early Romantic poets. To biographers he is also known as "mad Cowper." His literary talents produced some of the finest English hymn texts, but his chronic depression accounts for the somber tone of many of those texts. Educated to become an attorney, Cowper was called to the bar in 1754 but never practiced law. In 1763 he had the opportunity to become a clerk for the House of Lords, but the dread of the required public examination triggered his tendency to depression, and he attempted suicide. His subsequent hospitalization and friendship with Morley and Mary Unwin provided emotional st… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: As birds their infant brood protect
Title: Jehovah-Shammah
Author: William Cowper
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


As birds their infant brood protect. W. Cowper. [Divine Protection.] Appeared in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. i. No. 72, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines. It is based on Ezek. xlviii. 35. It is found in several of the older hymnals, including Cotterill’s, 1810 to 1819, Bickersteth’s, 1833, and others, but its modern use is confined mainly to America.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #241
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The Cyber Hymnal #241

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