In Grief and Fear to Thee O Lord

This hymn of petition expresses trust in God in a time of widespread sickness.   It was written by English naval officer and later Church of England missionary clergyman in the colonies of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, William Bullock (1798-1874).

It was first released in Songs of the Church, published in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1854 with the title, "The Church in Plague or Pestilence".  Some later publications called it "Thy Judgements Abroad". 

The altered lyrics shown below remove the archaic language and also address the types of sickness which are more likely to be found in Western countries in the 21st century.

Later publications usually leave out the original third verse:
Our sins Thy dreadful anger raise,
Our deeds Thy wrath deserve;
But we repent, and from Thy ways
We never more will swerve.

With meter 8 6 8 6 (C.M.), tunes it has been set to include:
  • WINDSOR (OLD 116TH), by George Kirbye and Christopher Tye (1533)
  • DOWNS (Mason), by Lowell Mason (1832)
  • DUNDEE (Ravenscroft) - composer unknown, from the Scottish Psalter, 161
  • SALISBURYfrom Thomas Ravenscroft's "Whole Booke of Psalmes" (1621)


Downloads



Examples


Instrumental, piano - tune WINDSOR (OLD 116TH)



Instrumental, pipe organ, tune SALISBURY


Lyrics

Traditional language

1 In grief and fear, to thee, O Lord,
We now for succour fly,
Thine awful judgements are abroad,
O shield us, lest we die!

2 The fell disease on every side
Walks forth with tainted breath;
And pestilence, with rapid stride,
Bestrews the land with death.

3 O look with pity on the scene
Of sadness and of dread,
And let thine angel stand between
The living find the dead!

4 With contrite hearts to thee, our King
We turn, who oft have strayed;
Accept the sacrifice we bring,
And let the plague be stayed.

Modern English

1 In grief and fear, to You, O Lord,
We now for comfort fly,
Such awful judgements are abroad,
O shield us, lest we die!

2 The dread disease on every side
Walks forth with tainted breath;
And pestilence, with rapid stride,
Threatens the land with death.

3 O look with pity on the scene
Of sadness and of dread,
And let Your angel stand between
The living and the dead!

4 With contrite hearts to You, our King
We turn, who oft have strayed;
Accept the sacrifice we bring,
And let disease be stayed.

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