How blest thy creature is, O God

How blest thy creature is, O God

Author: William Cowper
Published in 31 hymnals

Author: William Cowper

Cowper, William, the poet. The leading events in the life of Cowper are: born in his father's rectory, Berkhampstead, Nov. 26, 1731; educated at Westminster; called to the Bar, 1754; madness, 1763; residence at Huntingdon, 1765; removal to Olney, 1768; to Weston, 1786; to East Dereham, 1795; death there, April 25, 1800. The simple life of Cowper, marked chiefly by its innocent recreations and tender friendships, was in reality a tragedy. His mother, whom he commemorated in the exquisite "Lines on her picture," a vivid delineation of his childhood, written in his 60th year, died when he was six years old. At his first school he was profoundly wretched, but happier at Westminster; excelling at cricket and football, and numbering Warren Hasti… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: How blest thy creature is, O God
Author: William Cowper

Notes

How blest Thy creature is, O God. W. Cowper. [The Blessedness of Peace with God.] Southey in his Memoirs and Correspondence of William Cowper, 1854, vol. i. pp. 99-104, gives an account of Cowper's insanity, his residence at St. Albans under the care of Dr. Cotton, and his partial recovery. At the beginning of his attack Cowper wrote a most painful poem, the nature and burden of which will be gathered from the following (the third) stanza, which reads:—
"Man disavows, and Deity disowns me, Hell might afford my miseries a shelter; Therefore, hell keeps her ever-hungry mouths all Bolted against me."
In contrast to this despair Southey states that
"During this [the latter part of his stay with Dr. Cotton] part of his abode at St. Albans, he again poured out his feelings in Terse, and the contrast is indeed striking between what he called this specimen of his first Christian thoughts, and that song of despair [noted above] which cannot be perused without shuddering. He cast his thoughts in the form of a hymn, which he entitled ' The Happy Change,' and took for his text part of a verse in the Revelations, 'Behold, I make all things new.'"
The hymn composed under these circumstances, in July, 1765, is full of peace and hope, as evidenced in stanza iv.:—
"The soul, a dreary province once Of Satan's dark domain, Feels a new empire formed within, And owns a heavenly reign."
The publication of the hymn in 6 stanzas of 4 lines with Cowper's original title, "The Happy Change," was in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Book iii., No. 44. In full or in part it is given in several hymn-books, especially in America. Sometimes it begins:—"How blest is man, O God," as in the American Unitarian Hymns for the Church of Christ, Boston, 1853. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Timeline

Instances

Instances (1 - 31 of 31)
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A Choice Selection of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians #711

Hymns, Selected from Various Authors, for the Use of Young Persons #d88

The American Seaman's Hymn Book: a Collection of Sacred Songs for the Use of Mariners #d83

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The Springfield Collection of Hymns for Sacred Worship #367

The Christian Psalter #d225

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A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the Sanctuary #227

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A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for the Use of Universalist Societies and Families 16ed. #606

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Psalms and Hymns, for Christian Use and Worship #H385

Chapel Hymns #d227

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Hymns for the Church of Christ (3rd thousand) #278

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Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes; for the use of Christian Congregations #50

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Hymns for the Church of Christ. (6th thousand) #278

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Hymns for Christian Devotion: especially adapted to the Universalist denomination #258

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Hymns for Christian Devotion: especially adapted to the Universalist denomination. (New ed.) #258

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