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The Psalms of Davey #8 – “The Lord above is keeping his watch upon my soul”


This is the eighth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.

8 . “THE LORD ABOVE IS KEEPING HIS WATCH UPON MY SOUL”

(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, October-November 1985. Music John Pyke Hullah (1812-1884) Tune name “Bentley”. The tune is usually sung to the excellent hymn “Sometimes a light surprises the christian while he sings”, by the very famous poet and hymnwriter William Cowper. The hymn is such a favorite of mine that I would like to put Cowper’s words here for your perusal first:

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, Who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

I have used Hullah’s tune for a similar topic, confidence in God, which seems to echo through the notes of this hymn. I cannot compare my poetry to that of Cowper, for all I might like to try, but at least the theme is the same.

First published 27th June 2004, on usenetposts.com

1.
The Lord above is keeping
His watch upon my soul
His guardian care unsleeping
Keeps me both strong and whole
His angels watch my feet tread
They make secure my track
My going out is guarded
So too my coming back.

2.
The nets and gins of satan
Are set to do me harm
Yet God my Father keeps me
With His almighty arm
The greatest tests and trials
Can scarcely me distress
Nor demons’ practised wiles
For long my soul depress.

3.
The providence and caring
Of God, my Lord on high
Shall keep me from despairing
And guide me till I die
Till I, with eyes immortal
His guardian angels see
Yea more, at heaven’s portal
Sublime divinity.

“The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121 v 8)

Psalm of Davey #6 – For Me To Live Is Christ


This is the sixth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org

6. “FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST”

Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 10th October 1985. Music Robert Jackson (1842-1914) Tune name “Trentham”. The tune appears to be named after the village of Trentham near Stoke-on-Trent, England, which has a pleasant lake backed by hills and the river Trent and the canal nearby. It is my favourite of the four famous tunes we have from this composer. It is of course a Short Meter tune, and ideal for meditative hymns. Most commonly it is sung to “Breathe on me breath of God”.

First published on the net on 24th April 2004

(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)

1.
For me to live is Christ,
For me to die is gain
Lord, may this blessed truth me guide,
In comfort and in pain.

2.
Not I it is who live
But Christ doth dwell within.
My former, carnal self hath died
And I am dead to sin.

3.
The life which now I live
I live by faith alone,
In Christ who loved me and gave
Himself, me to atone.

4.
So may the Lord restrain
Me from all other plea
And may the cross of Christ my God
My only glory be.


“”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1 v 21) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2 v 20) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6 v 14)


Psalms of Davey 2/10 “Royal Priesthood, Holy Nation”


This is the second of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”.  They will be reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org

2. “ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, HOLY NATION”

This one was written in Hemel Hempstead on August 1985, but verse 3 was added in November 1988. Music Franz J. Haydn 1797 Tune name “Austria“, also known as “Das Deutschlandlied” – the German National Anthem. When I wrote this I had a mind to use the East German national anthem “Auferstanden aus Ruinen und der Zukunft zugewandt” for this hymn, and in this way to reclaim for God a Communist tune, but since shortly afterwards the prayers of many people were answered and Communist hegemony in East Germany crumbled away as all the principalities that ruled Luther’s land at any time, the point became moot, and I prefer the anthem of the united Germany for this hymn. They became a united nation, but one day the elect from all over the world will be united as one.)

1.
Royal Priesthood! Holy Nation!
Shew forth praises of your God!
Hail Him, chosen generation,
Who hath washed you in His blood!
From before the ages’ dawning
He His own elect hath known
Who, on Resurrection’s morning
Worshipping, shall throng His throne.

2.
Ye were bound in sin’s perdition
Wand’ring lost in blackest night
Jesus called you to contrition
Shone you o’er with marvellous light!
On that threshold of salvation
Lo! Your hearts felt newborn thrill;
There ye joined the Holy Nation
And that Nation waxeth still.

3.
Yea, the Lord himself hath claimed you
Through the work of God the Son.
In electing grace He named you
By Christ’s merit ye are won
In the extradition glorious
Ye shall meet Him face to Face
When the Church shall rise victorious
To her endless dwelling-place.

4.
What a calling! What redemption!
Thus our gracious God we bless.
How could we not sing His praises?
To His name give holiness!
Worship, chosen generation,
Praise, ye ransomed by His blood
Royal Priesthood, Holy Nation
Bow your hearts before your God!


“…But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)


“Psalms of Davey” (or, my hymns…) 1/10 “O Lord our God how Great…”


Me at University in 1985

This is the first of a cycle of Hymns I wrote mainly while at University. This is a picture of me taken at that time.

They will be reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org

1. “O LORD OUR GOD, HOW GREAT THOU ART”

(Words Uncle Davey, Cambridge 1985, Music George F. Handel 1685-1759 Tune name “Gopsal”)

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First published 10th January 2004

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1.
O Lord, Our God, how great
Thou art, in all the Earth!
How excellent Thy name
Who causedst heaven’s birth.
Who hast Thy glory set on high
O Lord, Thy name we magnify.

2.
Out of the mouths of babes
Thou hast ordained strength
Thine enemies to still
And be avenged at length
Lord, when Thy weak ones cry to Thee
Thou art at hand to set us free.

3.
When I consider all
The works Thy hand hath made
The sun, the moon and stars
Whose courses Thou hast laid
Then what is man, that Thou shouldst send
Thine only Son, his soul to mend?

4.
Thy mercy unto man
Transcendeth all our thought
Our sins were sore to scan
But Jesus Christ us sought
He bore our curse and misery
In agony on Calvary

5.
Because Christ all hath done
We hurry to believe
And bitterly repent
New, holy hearts receive
In filthy rags we did despair
But now Christ’s righteousness we wear

6.
Redeemed, restored we stand
Thee ever to adore
By grace constrained to love,
We seek to know Thee more
In full assurance of Thy grace
We press to bow before Thy face

” 1. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8. The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8, Authorised Version)

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