Scripture Verse

The sower soweth the Word. Mark 4:14


William Cowper (1731–1800)

Words: Will­iam Cow­per, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

Music: St. James Ralph Courte­ville, in Se­lect Psalms and Hymns for the Use of the Par­ish Church and Ta­ber­na­cle of St. James’, West­min­ster, 1696 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Courte­ville (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


Ye sons of earth, pre­pare the plough,
Break up your fa­llow ground!
The Sow­er is gone forth to sow,
And scat­ter bless­ings round.

The seed that finds a sto­ny soil
Shoots forth a has­ty blade;
But ill re­pays the sow­er’s toil,
Soon wi­thered, scorched, and dead.

The thor­ny ground is sure to balk
All hopes of har­vest there;
We find a tall and sick­ly stalk,
But not the fruit­ful ear.

The beat­en path and high­way side
Receive the trust in vain;
The watch­ful birds the spoil di­vide,
And pick up all the grain.

But where the Lord of grace and pow­er
Has bless­ed the hap­py field,
How plen­te­ous is the gold­en store
The deep wrought fur­rows yield!

Father of mer­cies, we have need
Of Thy pre­par­ing grace;
Let the same hand that gives me seed
Provide a fruit­ful place!