Lord, in the unbeginning years

Representative Text

1 Lord! in the unbeginning years,
Whose course is wrapped in trackless night,
Ere Thou hadst launched the heavenly spheres,
Or waked this wandering world to light;
What were Thy words, Thy works, and how
Didst Thou Thy glorious march record?
For Thou wert great and good, as now,
Of love the source, of light the Lord.

2 And in the unending ages, far
Beyond the utmost reach of mind,
When all that is, and all that are,
Shall leave not e’en a wreck behind:
Oh! what shall be Thy bright career,
Lord of the eternal, changeless will?
Thou will be there supreme, as here—
All wise, all good, almighty still!

3 Yes! shrouded in the mystery,
The past, the future’s dark abyss,
Bright clouds of splendor circle Thee,
And light Thy path from bliss to bliss.
This is our faith, our hope, our trust,
Through thought’s immeasurable range,
Time is a dream, and man is dust—
But Thou—but Thou canst never change!

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #10500

Author: John Bowring

James Bowring was born at Exeter, in 1792. He possessed at an early age a remarkable power of attaining languages, and acquired some reputation by his metrical translations of foreign poems. He became editor of "The Westminster Review" in 1825, and was elected to Parliament in 1835. In 1849, he was appointed Consul at Canton, and in 1854, was made Governor of Hong Kong, and received the honour of knighthood. He is the author of some important works on politics and travel, and is the recipient of several testimonials from foreign governments and societies. His poems and hymns have also added to his reputation. His "Matins and Vespers" have passed through many editions. In religion he is a Unitarian. --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charl… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Lord, in the unbeginning years
Author: John Bowring
Copyright: Public Domain



The tune CREATION is taken from the chorus “The Heavens Are Telling” from the well known oratorio The Creation (1798) by Franz Joseph Haydn (b. Rohrau, Austria, 1732; d. Vienna, Austria, 1809). Haydn's life was relatively uneventful, but his artistic legacy was truly astounding. He began his mus…

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The Cyber Hymnal #10500
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The Cyber Hymnal #10500

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