The billows swell, the winds are high

The billows swell, the winds are high

Author: William Cowper
Published in 125 hymnals

Full Text

1 The billows swell, the winds are high
Clouds overcast my wintry sky;
Out of the depths to thee I call,
My fears are great, my strength is small.

2 O Lord, a Savior's part perform,
And guide and guard me through the storm;
Defend me from each threatening ill,
Control the waves, say, "peace, be still."

3 Amidst the roaring of the sea,
My souls still hands her hope on thee;
Thy constant love, thy faithful care,
Is all that saves me from despair.

4 Dangers of every shape and name,
Attend the followers of the Lamb,
Who leave the world's deceitful shore,
And leave it to return no more.

5 God of my life, to thee I call,
Afflicted at thy feet I fall;
When the great water-floods prevail,
Leave not my trembling heart to fail!

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 >

Text Information

First Line: The billows swell, the winds are high
Author: William Cowper
Language: English


The billows swell, the winds are high. W. Cowper. [Temptation.] Appeared in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. iii., No. 18, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "Temptation." It was extensively adopted by the older collection, but is somewhat restricted in its modern use.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)