Translation by Thomas Carew (1595? - 1639?)

My soul the great God's praises sings
Language: English  after the Unknown Language 
My soul the great God's praises sings,
Circled round with glorious wings,
Clothed with light, o'er whom the sky
Hangs like a starry canopy;
Who dwells upon the gliding streams,
Enamelled with his golden beams.
Enthroned in clouds as in a chair,
He rides in triumph through the air.

The winds and flaming element
Are on his great ambassage sent.
The fabric of the earth shall stand
For aye, built by his powerful hand.
The floods that with their wat'ry robe
Once covered all this earthly globe,
Soon as thy thund'ring voice was heard,
Fled fast, and straight the hills appeared.

The humble valleys saw the sun,
Whilst the affrighted waters run
Into their channels and no more
Shall drown the earth, or pass the shore.
Along those vales the cool springs flow,
And wash the mountains' feet below;
And on the boughs that shade the spring
The feathered choir shall sit and sing.

When on her womb thy dew is shed,
The pregnant earth is brought to bed;
And with a fruitful birth increased,
Yields herbs and grass for man and beast,
Heart-strengthening bread, care-drowning wine,
And oil that makes the sleek face shine.

On Libanon his cedars stand,
Trees full of sap, works of his hand.
In them the birds their cabins dight;
The fir tree is the stork's delight.
The wild goat on the hills, in cells
Of rock the hermit coney dwells.

The moon observes her course, the sun
Knows when his weary race is done.
And when the night her dark veil spreads,
The wilder beasts forsake their sheds.
The hungry lions hunt for blood,
And roaring beg from God their food.

The sun returns: these beasts of prey
Fly to their dens and from the day.
And whilst they in dark caverns lurk,
Man till the evening goes to work.
How full of creatures is the earth,
To which thy wisdom gave their birth!
And those that in the wide sea breed,
The bounds of numbers far exceed.

God's glory shall for ever stay;
He shall with joy his works survey.
The steadfast earth shall shake if He
Look down and if the mountains be
Touched, they shall smoke. Yet still my verse
Shall whilst I live his praise rehearse.


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-29
Line count: 56
Word count: 376