The Sower

Ye sons of earth prepare the plough

Author: William Cowper
Published in 19 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Ye sons of earth prepare the plough,
Break up your fallow ground!
The Sower is gone forth to sow,
And scatter blessings round.

2 The seed that finds a stony soil,
Shoots forth a hasty blade;
But ill repays the sower's toil,
Soon withered, scorched, and dead.

3 The thorny ground is sure to balk
All hopes of harvest there:
We find a tall and sickly stalk,
But not the fruitful ear.

4 The beaten path, and highway side
Receive the trust in vain:
The watchful birds the spoil divide,
And pick up all the grain.

5 But where the Lord of grace and power
Has blessed the happy field;
How plenteous is the golden store
The deep-wrought furrows yield!

6 Father of mercies, we have need
Of thy preparing grace;
Let the same hand that gives the seed
Provide a fruitful place.

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

Author: William Cowper

William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper"; b. Berkampstead, Hertfordshire, England, 1731; d. East Dereham, Norfolk, England, 1800) is regarded as one of the best early Romantic poets. To biographers he is also known as "mad Cowper." His literary talents produced some of the finest English hymn texts, but his chronic depression accounts for the somber tone of many of those texts. Educated to become an attorney, Cowper was called to the bar in 1754 but never practiced law. In 1763 he had the opportunity to become a clerk for the House of Lords, but the dread of the required public examination triggered his tendency to depression, and he attempted suicide. His subsequent hospitalization and friendship with Morley and Mary Unwin provided emotional st… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Ye sons of earth prepare the plough
Title: The Sower
Author: William Cowper
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Ye sons of earth, prepare the plough. W. Cowper. [The Sower.] Published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. i., No, 85, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled, "The Sower." It is in several modern collections, but it does not rank in popularity with many of Cowper's hymns.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #7815
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The Cyber Hymnal #7815

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