Scripture Verse

Why stand ye here all the day idle? Matthew 20:6


Words: Re­gi­nald He­ber (1783–1826). Pub­lished post­hu­mous­ly in Hymns Writ­ten and Adapt­ed to the Week­ly Church Ser­vice of the Year (Lon­don: J. Mur­ray, 1827), pag­es 46–47.

Music: Duke Street at­trib­ut­ed to John Hat­ton, 1793 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Reginald Heber


The God of Glory walks His round,
From day to day, from year to year,
And warns us each with awful sound,
“No longer stand ye idle here!

“Ye whose young cheeks are rosy bright,
Whose hands are strong, whose hearts are clear,
Waste not of hope the morning light!
Ah fools! why stand ye idle here?

“Oh, as the griefs ye would assuage
That wait on life’s declining year,
Secure a blessing for your age.
And work your Maker’s business here!

“And ye, whose locks of scanty grey
Foretell your latest travail near.
How swiftly fades your worthless day!
And stand ye yet so idle here?

One hour remains, there is but one!
But many a shriek and many a tear
Through endless years the guilt must moan
Of moments lost and wasted here!

Oh Thou, by all Thy works adored,
To whom the sinner’s soul is dear,
Recall us to Thy vineyard, Lord!
And grant us grace to please Thee here!