Our Day of Praise is Done

John Ellerton (1826-1893) wrote approximately 50 original hymns and translated several more from Latin. John Julian, in his Dictionary of Hymnology (1907) sums up Ellerton’s style:

The words which he uses are usually short and simple; the thought is clear and well stated; the rhythm is good and stately…His sympathy with nature, especially in her sadder moods, is great; he loves the fading light and the peace of eve, and lingers in the shadows. Unlike many writers who set forth their illustrations in detail, and then tie to them the moral which they are to teach, he weaves his moral into his metaphor, and pleases the imagination and refreshes the spirit together. Now and again he falls into the weakness of ringing changes on words; but taken as a whole his verse is elevated in tone, devotional in spirit, and elegant in diction. (Source: Hymnary)

Ellerton’s hymn below strikes a chord with me because of its theme of ceaseless praise to The Most High.

Our day of praise is done;
The evening shadows fall;
But pass not from us with the sun,
True Light that lightenest all.

Around the throne on high,
Where night can never be,
The white-robed harpers of the sky
Bring ceaseless hymns to Thee.

Too faint our anthems here;
Too soon of praise we tire;
But oh, the strains how full and clear
Of that eternal choir!

Yet, Lord, to Thy dear will
If Thou attune the heart,
We in Thine angel’s music still
May bear our lower part.

‘Tis Thine each soul to calm,
Each wayward thought reclaim,
And make our life a daily psalm
Of glory to Thy name.

A little while, and then
Shall come the glorious end;
And songs of angels and of men
In perfect praise shall blend.

Amen.

Ye Holy Angels Bright

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) wrote this hymn incorporating the theme of all who praise the Lord:  angels, saints in heaven, saints on earth, and his own soul. He uses an interesting meter and rhyme scheme of 6.6.6.6 (syllables), rhyming ABAB, and then moves to an energetic 4.4.4.4 while rhyming CDDC.

As Baxter suggests in different lines below, “Let all (our) days”, “through good or ill”, “whate’er He send”, “be filled with praise.”

Ye holy angels bright,
Who wait at God’s right hand,
Or through the realms of light
Fly at your Lord’s command,
Assist our song,
Or else the theme,
Too high doth seem,
For mortal tongue.

Ye blessèd souls at rest,
Who ran this earthly race
And now, from sin released,
Behold your Savior’s face,
God’s praises sound,
As in His light,
With sweet delight,
Ye do abound.

Ye saints, who toil below,
Adore your heavenly King,
And onward as ye go
Some joyful anthem sing;
Take what He gives,
And praise Him still,
Through good or ill,
Who ever lives.

My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above,
And with a well-tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love;
Let all thy days,
Till life shall end,
Whate’er He send,
Be filled with praise.

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