Thee, Sovereign God, our grateful accents praise;
We own thee Lord, and bless thy wondrous ways;
To thee, Eternal Father, earth's whole frame
With loudest trumpets sounds immortal fame.
Lord God of Hosts! For thee the heavenly powers
With sounding anthems fill the vaulted towers.
Thy Cherubims thrice Holy, Holy, Holy cry;
Thrice Holy, all the Seraphims reply,
and thrice returning echoes endless songs supply.
Both heaven and earth they majesty display;
They owe their beauty to thy glorious ray.
They praises fill the loud apostles' quire:
The train of prophets in the song conspire.
Legions of Martyrs in the chorus shine,
And vocal blood with vocal music join.
By these thy Church, inspired by heavenly art,
Around the world maintains a second part,
And tunes her sweetest notes, O God, to thee,
The Father of unbounded majesty;
The Son adored co-partner of thy seat,
And equal everlasting Paraclete.
Thou King of Glory, Christ, of the Most High
Thou co-eternal Filial Deity;
Thou who, to save the world's impending doom,
Vouchsafedst to dwell within a Virgin's womb;
Old tyrant Death disarmed, before thee flew
The bolts of heaven, and back the foldings drew,
To give access, and make thy faithful way;
From God's right hand thy filial beams display.
Thou art to judge the living and the dead;
Then spare the souls for whom thy veins have bled.
O take us up amongs thy blessed above,
To share with them thy everlasting love.
Preserve, O Lord! thy people, and enhance
Thy blessing on thine own inheritance.
For ever raise their hearts, and rule their ways,
Each day we bless thee, and proclaim they praise;
No age shall fail to celebrate thy name,
No hour neglect thy everlasting fame.
Preserve our souls, O Lord, this day from ill;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy still:
As we have hoped, do thou reward our pain;
We've hoped in thee, let not our hope be vain.
This is John Dryden's free rendering into verse of the ancient hymn, Te Deum Laudamus. Dryden's poem is sometimes found in hymnals using the first line as its title.
(I think this will be the first in a series of posts on hymns by great and well-known poets.)