Return of Joy

When darkness long has vailed my mind

Author: William Cowper
Tune: RIVAULX (Dykes)
Published in 117 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, Noteworthy Composer
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 When darkness long has vailed my mind,
And smiling day once more appears;
Then, my Redeemer, then I find
The folly of my doubts and fears.

2 I chide my unbelieving heart,
And blush that I should ever be
Thus prone to act so base a part,
Or harbor one hard thought of thee!

3 O! let me then at length be taught
(What I am still so slow to learn)
That God is love, and changes not,
Nor knows the shadow of a turn.

4 Sweet truth, and easy to repeat!
But when my faith is sharply tried
I find myself a learner yet,
Unskillful, weak, and apt to slide.

5 But O my Lord, one look from thee
Subdues the disobedient will;
Drives doubt and discontent away,
And thy rebellious worm is still.

6 Thou art as ready to forgive,
As I am ready to repine;
Thou, therefore, all the praise receive;
Be shame, and self-abhorrence, mine.

The Christian's duty, exhibited in a series of hymns, 1791

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: When darkness long has vailed my mind
Title: Return of Joy
Author: William Cowper
Language: English


When darkness long has veiled my mind. W. Cowper. [Peace.] First published in R. Conyer's Collection, 1772, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed “Trials overcome by Hope." When included in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. iii., No. 23, it was expanded into 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed, "Peace after a Storm." In its full, or in an abbreviated form, it is found in several hymn-books in Great Britain and America, both old and new. Although not referred to, so far as we can find, in Cowper's Memoirs, it was evidently written at or about the same time as his "God moves in a mysterious way." --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #11915
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The Cyber Hymnal #11915

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