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The Heavens Declare Thy Glory

The heavens declare thy glory, The firmament thy power

Author: Thomas R. Birks (1874)
Published in 53 hymnals

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Full Text

1 The heavens declare your glory,
the firmament your power;
day unto day the story
repeats from hour to hour.
Night unto night replying,
proclaims in every land,
O Lord, with voice undying,
the wonders of your hand.

2 The sun with royal splendor
goes forth to chant your praise,
and moonbeams soft and tender
their gentler anthem raise.
O'er every tribe and nation
the music is outpoured,
the song of all creation
to you, creation's Lord.

3 All heaven on high rejoices
to do its Maker's will;
the stars with solemn voices
resound your praises still.
So let my whole behavior,
each thought, each deed I do,
be, Lord, my strength, my Savior,
a ceaseless song to you.

Author: Thomas R. Birks

Birks, Thomas Rawson, M.A., b. Sept. 1810, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. 1834, M.A. 1837), of which he subsequently became a Fellow. Having taken Holy Orders in 1837, he became Rector of Kelshall, Herts, 1844; Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, 1866; Hon. Canon of Ely Cathedral, 1871; and Professor of Moral Philosophy, Cambridge, 1872. He d. at Cambridge, July 21, 1883. His works, to the number of 25, include Biblical, Astronomical, Scientific, Prophetic, and other subjects. He also wrote the Memoirs of the Rev. E Bickersteth (his father-in-law), 2 vols., 1851. His hymns appeared in Bickersteth's Christian Psalmody; 1833; and, together with Versions of the Psalms, in his Companion Psalter, 1874. They number upwards of 100… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The heavens declare thy glory, The firmament thy power
Title: The Heavens Declare Thy Glory
Author: Thomas R. Birks (1874)
Meter: D
Copyright: Public Domain


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 19:1-2
st. 2 = Ps. 19:4-6
st. 3 = Ps. 19:14

This paraphrase of the opening verses of Psalm 19 was written by British scholar Thomas R. Birks (b. Staveley, Derbyshire, England, 1810; d. Cambridge, England, 1883), who published it in his Companion Psalter (1874). Birks was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After ordination in the Church of England, he served two churches and was a professor of moral philosophy at Cambridge. He wrote about a number of biblical subjects, especially prophecy, and prepared at least a hundred versifications of psalms.

Following the example of Psalm 19:1-6, this text takes as its theme the praise that all creation gives to its Creator. In typical nineteenth-century fashion Birks provides a moral: just as the physical universe around me praises the Lord God, so I must praise the Creator with all my thoughts, words and deeds (st. 3). The modernized version in the Psalter Hymnal reflects current pronoun usage. (For additional comments on this psalm see PHH 19.)

Liturgical Use:
An opening hymn of praise; for more suggestions see PHH 19.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



FAITHFUL is an adaptation of a tune from Johann S. Bach's (PHH 7) well-known aria "Mein gläubiges Herze" ("My heart ever faithful"), found in his Cantata 68. The tune's title is derived from the English translation of the aria's opening words. A charming tune, FAITHFUL consists of repetitions and v…

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CHENIES (Matthews)



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The Cyber Hymnal #2247
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #429
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Instances (1 - 6 of 6)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #3TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan
Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #19DTextAudioPage Scan
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #429Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudioPage Scan
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #230
The Cyber Hymnal #2247TextScoreAudio
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #113TextPage Scan
Include 47 pre-1979 instances