Please give today to support during one of only two fund drives we run each year. Each month, Hymnary serves more than 1 million users from around the globe, thanks to the generous support of people like you, and we are so grateful. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made securely online using this link.

Alternatively, you may write a check to CCEL and mail it to:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We build with fruitless toil and cost

Representative Text

1 We build with fruitless toil and cost,
Unless the Lord the pile sustain;
Unless the Lord the city keeps,
The watchman waketh but in vain.

2 In vain we rise before the dawn;
In vain we late to rest repair;
Allow no respite to our toil,
And daily eat the bread of care.

3 Supplies of life, with ease to them,
The Lord to all his saints bestows;
He crowns their labours with success,
Their nights with peace and soft repose.

4 Children, those comforts of our life,
Are presents from the bounteous Lord;
He gives a num'rous race of heirs,
Of piety the sweet reward.

5 As arrows in a giant's hand,
When marching forth, equipp'd for war,
Ev'n so the sons of sprightly youth
Their parents hopeful safeguard are.

5 Happy the man, whose quivers are
Replete with those prevailing arms!
He need not fear to meet his foe,
In strifes of law, or war's alarms.

Source: The Psalms of David: with hymns and spiritual songs: also, the catechism, confession of faith, and liturgy of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands #127

Adapter: Francis Hopkinson

Francis Hopkinson; grad. College of Philadelphia with master’s degree; studied law and passed Pa. bar; opened conveyancer’s office in Philadelphia; musical and literary talent; prolific writer who frequently used pen name, A. B. LOC Name Authority Files Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: We build with fruitless toil and cost
Adapter: Francis Hopkinson
Source: Tate and Brady's New Version, " We build with fruitless cost, unless"
Language: English
Publication Date: 1767
Copyright: Public Domain



This tune is likely the work of the composer named here, but has also been attributed to others as shown in the instances list below. According to the Handbook to the Baptist Hymnal (1992), Old 100th first appeared in the Genevan Psalter, and "the first half of the tune contains phrases which may ha…

Go to tune page >



Instances (1 - 2 of 2)
TextPage Scan

The Psalms of David #127

TextPage Scan

The Psalms of David #CXXVII

Suggestions or corrections? Contact us