Spirit of God, that moved of old

Spirit of God, that moved of old

Author: Cecil Frances Alexander
Published in 24 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Spirit of God, that moved of old
Upon the waters’ darkened face,
Come, when our faithless hearts are cold,
And stir them with an inward grace.

2 Thou art the power and peace combined,
All highest strength, all purest love,
The rushing of the mighty wind,
The brooding of the gentle dove.

3 Come, give us still thy powerful aid,
And urge us on, and keep us thine;
Nor leave the hearts that once were made
Fit temples for thy grace divine.

4 Nor let us quench thy sevenfold light;
But still with softest breathings stir
Our wayward souls, and lead us right,
O Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

Source: The Song Book of the Salvation Army #202

Author: Cecil Frances Alexander

As a small girl, Cecil Frances Humphries (b. Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland, 1818; Londonderry, Ireland, 1895) wrote poetry in her school's journal. In 1850 she married Rev. William Alexander, who later became the Anglican primate (chief bishop) of Ireland. She showed her concern for disadvantaged people by traveling many miles each day to visit the sick and the poor, providing food, warm clothes, and medical supplies. She and her sister also founded a school for the deaf. Alexander was strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement and by John Keble's Christian Year. Her first book of poetry, Verses for Seasons, was a "Christian Year" for children. She wrote hymns based on the Apostles' Creed, baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Ten Commandment… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Spirit of God, that moved of old
Author: Cecil Frances Alexander
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Spirit of God, that moved of old. Cecil F. Alexander, née Humphreys. [Whitsuntide.] Appeared in the Society for Promoting Christian KnowledgeHymns, 1852, No. 70, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines. In Mrs. Alexander's Hymns Descriptive and Devotional, 1858, No. 15, it was republished in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, the new stanza, the third, being "Unseal the well within our hearts." The 1852 text is that usually given in modern hymnbooks. In Dr. Martineau's Hymns, &c, 1873. No. 95 is an altered form of stanzas ii.-iv. of the 1852 text, and begins, "Thou Power and Peace! in Whom we find."

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)





Henry Kemble Oliver (b. Beverly, MA, 1800; d. Salem, MA, 1885) composed FEDERAL STREET in 1832, possibly as an imitation of earlier psalm tunes in long meter. He took it to a music class taught by Lowell Mason (who may have contributed to the harmony); Mason (PHH 96) published it in his Boston Acade…

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The Cyber Hymnal #6009
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Instances (1 - 2 of 2)

The Cyber Hymnal #6009


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #202

Include 22 pre-1979 instances
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