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Unless the Lord the House Shall Build

Representative Text

1 Unless the Lord builds up the house,
the weary builders toil in vain;
unless he keeps the city safe,
the guards a useless watch maintain.

2 In vain you rise before the dawn,
and late your nightly vigils keep;
while you eat bread of anxious toil,
God gives to his beloved sleep.

3 Lo, children are a heritage,
a gift from God in very truth.
Like arrows in a warrior's hand
are all the children of one's youth.

4 The man whose quiver's full of them
is blessed by God; his name is great.
He shall not fear his enemies
when he speaks with them in the gate.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #127B

Text Information

First Line: Unless the Lord the house shall build
Title: Unless the Lord the House Shall Build
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain




A pentatonic (five-pitch) folk tune from the southern United States, BOURBON fits well with the penitential text of Psalm 38. The tune calls for unison singing, with accompaniment providing a firmly articulated rhythm. Like many pentatonic tunes, when unaccompanied it can be sung in canon after eith…

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The Cyber Hymnal #7033
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 6 of 6)
Text InfoTextAudio

Glory to God #46


The Cyber Hymnal #7033


The Presbyterian Hymnal #238

TextPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #365

TextPage Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #127A

TextPage Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #127B

Include 9 pre-1979 instances
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