The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud…and by night in a pillar of fire.@Exodus 13:21
portrait
Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Walter Scott, Ivanhoe 1817. In chapter 40 Scott introduces the hymn:

It was in the twilight of the day when her trial, if it could be called such, had taken place, that a low knock was heard at Rebecca’s prison-chamber. It disturbed not the inmate, who was then engaged in the evening prayer recommended by her religion, and which concluded with a hymn we have ventured thus to translate into English…

Melcombe Samuel Webbe, Sr., 1782 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Samuel Webbe, Sr. (1740-1816)

When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out from the land of bondage came,
Her father’s God before her moved,
An awful guide, in smoke and flame.

There rose the choral hymn of praise,
And trump and timbrel answered keen,
And Zion’s daughters poured their lays,
With priest’s and warrior’s voice between.

By day, along th’astonished lands
The cloudy pillar glided slow;
By night, Arabia’s crimsoned sands
Returned the fiery column’s glow.

Thus present still, though now unseen,
When brightly shines the prosperous day,
Be thoughts of Thee a cloudy screen,
To temper the deceitful ray.

And O, when gathers on our path,
In shade and storm, the frequent night,
Be Thou, long suffering, slow to wrath,
A burning and a shining light.