Scripture Verse

I will sing praise…as long as I live. Psalm 146:1

Introduction

portrait
Isaac Watts
(1674–1748)

Words: Is­aac Watts, The Psalms of Da­vid, 1719. Praise to God for His good­ness and truth.

Music: Old 113th at­trib­ut­ed to Mat­thäus Greit­er, Strass­bur­ger Kirch­en­amt, 1525 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Greit­er (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?

Anecdote

[John] Wes­ley gave out this hymn just before preach­ing for the last time in Ci­ty Road Cha­pel, Tues­day ev­en­ing, Feb­ru­a­ry 22, 1791. The fol­low­ing Mon­day af­ter­noon, though ve­ry ill, he am­azed the friends at his bed­side by sing­ing the hymn through­out in a strong voice.

The next night, his bi­og­raph­er, Ty­er­mann, tells us, he tried scores of times to re­peat the hymn, but could on­ly say I’ll praise—I’ll praise—. And with praise for his Mak­er on his lips and in his heart he passed to that life where imm­or­tal­i­ty en­dures.

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Lyrics

I’ll praise my maker with my breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past
While life and thought and being last,
Or immortality endures.

Why should I make a man my trust?
Princes must die and turn to dust;
Vain is the help of flesh and blood:
Their breath departs, their pomp and power,
And thoughts all vanish in an hour,
Nor can they make their promise good.

Happy the man whose hopes rely
On Israel’s God: He made the sky,
And earth, and seas, with all their train:
His truth for ever stands secure;
He saves th’oppressed, He feeds the poor,
And none shall find His promise vain.

The Lord has eyes to give the blind;
The Lord supports the sinking mind;
He sends the laboring conscience peace;
He helps the stranger in distress,
The widow, and the fatherless,
And grants the prisoner sweet release.

He loves His saints, He knows them well,
But turns the wicked down to hell;
Thy God, O Zion, ever reigns:
Let every tongue, let every age,
In this exalted work engage;
Praise Him in everlasting strains.

I’ll praise Him while He lends me breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life and thought and being last,
Or immortality endures.