Hymnary Friends,

Please pardon this brief interruption, and please consider a gift today to support the work of Hymnary.org. Here's why.

Each month half a million people visit this website for free access to the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet. But this project does not come without a cost, and we have limited sources of revenue. Twice a year we hold a fund drive, and these drives are critical to our future.

So if you benefit from Hymnary.org, would you consider a donation today? Even small amounts help, and they also let us know you're behind us and support what we do.

Click the Donate button below to be taken to a secure giving site. Or you can make your tax-deductible contribution by sending a check to Hymnary.org at 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

On behalf of the entire Hymnary.org team, our thanks.
Harry Plantinga

Now, when the dusky shades of night retreating

Now, when the dusky shades of night retreating

Author: Gregory the Great; Author: Anonymous (1853)
Published in 89 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1. Now, when the dusky shades of night, retreating
Before the sun's red banner, swiftly flee;
Now, when the terrors of the dark are fleeting,
O Lord, we lift our thankful hearts to thee.

2. To Thee, whose word, the fount of light unsealing,
When hill and dale in thickest darkness lay,
Awoke bright rays across the dim earth stealing,
And bade the even and morn complete the day.

3. Look from the tower of heaven, and send to cheer us
Thy light and truth, to guide us onward still;
Still let thy mercy, as of old, be near us,
And lead us safely to Thy holy hill.

4. In vain to labor, unless Thou be with him,
Man goeth forth through all the weary day;
In vain his strife, in vain his toil unceasing,
Unless Thy staff bring comfort on his way.

5. Thou, who hast made the north and south, watch o'er us;
Thou, in whose Name, the lonely ones rejoice,
Still let Thy cloudy pillar glide before us,
Still let us listen for Thy warning voice.

6. So, when that morn of endless light is waking,
And shades of evil from its splendors flee,
Safe may we rice, the earth's dark breast forsaking,
Through all the long bright day to dwell with Thee.


The Hymnal: published by the Authority of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1895

Author: Gregory the Great

Gregory I., St., Pope. Surnamed The Great. Was born at Rome about A.D. 540. His family was distinguished not only for its rank and social consideration, but for its piety and good works. His father, Gordianus, said to have been the grandson of Pope Felix II. or III., was a man of senatorial rank and great wealth; whilst his mother, Silvia, and her sisters-in-law, Tarsilla and Aemiliana, attained the distinction of canonization. Gregory made the best use of his advantages in circumstances and surroundings, so far as his education went. "A saint among saints," he was considered second to none in Rome in grammar, rhetoric, and logic. In early life, before his father's death, he became a member of the Senate; and soon after he was thirty and ac… Go to person page >

Author: Anonymous

In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries. Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Now, when the dusky shades of night retreating
Author: Anonymous (1853)
Author: Gregory the Great
Source: Hedge and Huntington's "Hymns", etc.
Language: English


Now, when the dusky shades of night retreating. [Morning.] This cento was given in Hedge and Huntington's Hymns for the Church of Christ, Boston, U.S.A., 1853, No. 404, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. The first stanza is an altered form of stanza i. of W. J. Copeland's translation of "Ecce jam noctis." It is suggested in the Index of Latin first lines in Thring's Collection, 1882, that stanza iii. ("Look from the tower of heaven") is also from the same Latin hymn; stanza ii. ("To Thee Whose word, &c") is from "Lucis Creator optime," and stanza vi. (“So when the morn, &c") is from "Nocte surgentes, &c." Possibly this may be so, but the resemblance is remote. The hymn as in the Hys. for the Church of Christ, either in full or in part, is in a great many hymn-books in Great Britain and America, including the Plymouth Collection, 1855; Kennedy, 1863; the Hymnary, 1872; Thring's Collection, 1882, &c. In most collections stanzas iv and v. of the 1853 text are omitted, and sometimes a doxology is added. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #4667
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 2 of 2)

The Baptist Hymnal #55


The Cyber Hymnal #4667

Include 87 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us