O would I had a thousand tongues

Representative Text

Oh would I had a thousand tongues,
To sound Thy praise o'er land and sea!
Oh! rich and sweet should be my songs,
Of all my God has done for me!
With thankfulness my heart must often swell,
But mortal lips Thy praises faintly tell.

Oh that my voice could far resound
Up to yon stars that o'er me shine!
Would that my blood for joy might bound
Through every vein while life is mine!
Would that each pulse were gratitude, each breath
A song to Him who keeps me safe from death!

O all ye powers of soul and mind,
Arise, keep silence thus no more;
Put forth your strength, and ye shall find
Your noblest work is to adore.
O soul and body, make ye pure and meet,
With heartfelt praise your God and Lord to greet.

Ye little leaves so fresh and green,
That dance for joy in summer air,
Ye slender grasses, bright and keen,
Ye flowers so wondrous sweet and fair;
Ye only for your Maker's glory live,
Help me, for all His love, meet praise to give.

O all ye living things that throng
With breath and motion earth and sky,
Be ye companions in my song,
Help me to raise His praises high;
For my unaided powers are far too weak
The glories of His mighty works to speak.

And first, O Father, praise to Thee
For all I am and all I have,
It was Thy merciful decree
That all those blessings richly gave,
Which o'er the earth are scattered far and near,
To help and gladden us who sojourn here.

And, dearest Jesus, blest be Thou,
Whose heart with pity overflows,
Thou rich in help! who deign'dst to bow
To earth, and taste her keenest woes;
Thy death has burst my bonds and set me free,
Has made me Thine; henceforth I cling to Thee.

Nor less to Thee, O Holy Ghost,
Be everlasting honours paid,
For all Thy comfort, Lord, and most
That I a child of life am made
By Thy deep love; my good deeds are not mine,
Thou workest them through me, O Light Divine.

Yes, Lord, through all my changing days,
With each new scene afresh I mark
How wondrously Thou guid'st my ways,
Where all seems troubled, wilder'd, dark;
When dangers thicken fast, and hopes depart,
Thy light beams comfort on my sinking heart.

Shall I not then be filled with joy,
Shall I not praise Thee evermore?
Triumphant songs my lips employ,
E'en when my cup of woe runs o'er;
Nay, though the heavens should vanish as a scroll,
Nothing shall shake or daunt my trusting soul.

But of Thy goodness will I sing
As long as I have life and breath,
Offerings of thanks I'll daily bring
Until my heart is still in death;
And when at last my lips grow pale and cold,
Yet in my sighs Thy praises shall be told.

Father, do Thou in mercy deign
To listen to my earthly lays;
Once shall I learn a nobler strain,
Where angels ever hymn Thy praise,
There in the radiant choir I too shall sing
Loud hallelujahs to my glorious Kings.

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #71

Author: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Author: Johann Mentzer

Mentzer, Johann, was born July 27, 1658, at Jahmen, near Rothenburg, in Silesia, and became a student of theology at Wittenberg, In 1691 he was appointed pastor at Merzdorf; in 1693 at Hauswalde, near Bischofswerda; and in 1696 at Kemnitz, near Bernstadt, Saxony. He died at Kemnitz, Feb. 24, 1734 (G. F. Otto's Lexicon . . . Oberlausizischer Schriftsteller, ii., 581; ms. from Pastor Richter of Kemnitz, &c). He was a great friend of J. C. Schwedler, of Henrietta Catherine von Gersdorf, and of N. L. von Zinzendorf, all hymnwriters, and all his near neighbours. He was himself greatly tried in the furnace of affliction. He wrote a large number of hymns, over 30 of which appeared in the various hymnbooks of his time. Many of them, especially t… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O would I had a thousand voices, To sound thy praise over land and sea
Title: O would I had a thousand tongues
German Title: O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte
Author: Johann Mentzer (1704)
Author: Catherine Winkworth
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



Johann Balthaser König (b. Waltershausen, near Gotha, Germany, 1691; d. Frankfurt, Germany, 1758) composed this tune, which later became associated with Johann Mentzer's hymn "O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte" (Oh, That I Had a Thousand Voices). The harmonization is from the Wurttembergische Choral…

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Instances (1 - 9 of 9)
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