Bestow, Dear Lord, Upon Our Youth

Bestow, O Lord, upon our youth

Author: William Cowper
Published in 95 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, Noteworthy Composer
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Bestow, dear Lord, upon our youth
The gift of saving grace;
And let the seed of sacred truth
Fall in a fruitful place.

2 Grace is a plant, where'er it grows,
Of pure and Heav'nly root;
But fairest in the youngest shows,
And yields the sweetest fruit.

3 Ye careless ones, O hear betimes
The voice of sovereign love?
Your youth is stained with many crimes,
But mercy reigns above.

4 True, you are young, but there's a stone
Within the youngest breast;
Or half the crimes which you have done
Would rob you of your rest.

5 For you the public prayer is made,
Oh! join the public prayer!
For you the secret tear is shed,
O shed your selves a tear!

6 We pray that you may early prove
The Spirit's power to teach:
You cannot be too young to love
That Jesus whom we preach.

The Christian's duty, exhibited in a series of hymns, 1791

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: Bestow, O Lord, upon our youth
Title: Bestow, Dear Lord, Upon Our Youth
Author: William Cowper
Source: Olney Hymns (London, W. Oliver, 1779), Book 2
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Bestow, dear Lord, upon our youth. W. Cowper. [For the Young.] This hymn is the second of three "Hymns before Annual Sermons to Young People, on New Year's Evenings" (the 1st and 3rd being by J. Newton), which were published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Book ii., No. 8, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines and signed "C." In Cotterill's Selection, 1810, No. 93, it was given as—-"Bestow, O Lord, upon our youth." Both this form and the original are in common use The original, with the omission of stanza iv., is in the Methodist Free Church Sunday School Hymn Book, No. 155; in full, in the American Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns for the Worship of God, Richmond, 1867, and others. Cotterill’s text, with the omission of stanza iv., is in Stowell's Selection, 1831 and 1877.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #11917
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  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)


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The Cyber Hymnal #11917

Include 94 pre-1979 instances
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