My former hopes are dead

My former hopes are dead

Author: William Cowper
Tune: SHAWMUT (Mason)
Published in 123 hymnals

Full Text

1 My former hopes are dead,
My terror now begins;
I feel alas! that I am dead
In trespasses and sins.

2 Ah whither shall I fly?
I hear the thunder roar;
The law proclaims destruction nigh,
And vengeance at the door.

3 When I review my ways,
I dread impending doom;
But sure a friendly whisper says,
"Flee from the wrath to come."

4 I see, or think I see,
A glimmering from afar;
A beam of day that shines for me,
To save me from despair.

5 Forerunner of the sun,
It marks the pilgrim's way;
I'll gaze upon it while I run,
And watch the rising day.

The Hartford Selection of Hymns from the most approved authors, 1799

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 >


My former hopes are fled. W. Cowper. [Seeking God.] Appeared in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. iii., No. 8, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "The Shining Light." It was passed into common use in Great Britain and America, its use in the latter being somewhat extensive.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)