1928. God of Our Fathers, Known of Old

1. God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

2. The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

3. Far called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

4. If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

5. For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Text Information
First Line: God of our fathers, known of old
Title: God of Our Fathers, Known of Old
Author: Rudyard Kipling (1897)
Meter: 88.88.88
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain
Notes: The words were orig­in­al­ly writ­ten as the po­em Re­cess­ion­al, and pub­lished in the Lon­don Times dur­ing Queen Vic­tor­ia’s Ju­bi­lee cel­e­bra­tion. They were al­so sung at Kip­ling’s fun­er­al. That poem gave me more trou­ble than an­y­thing I ev­er wrote. I had prom­ised the Times a po­em on the Ju­bi­lee, and when it be­came due I had writ­ten no­thing that sa­tis­fied me. The Times began to want that po­em bad­ly, and sent let­ter af­ter let­ter ask­ing for it. I made more at­tempts, but no fur­ther pro­gress. Final­ly the Times be­gan send­ing tel­e­grams. So I shut my­self in a room with the de­term­in­a­tion to stay there un­til I had writ­ten a Ju­bi­lee poem. Sit­ting down with all my pre­vi­ous at­tempts be­fore me, I searched through the do­zens of sketch­es till at last I found just one line I liked. That was ‘Lest we for­get.’ Round these words ‘The Re­cess­ion­al’ was writ­ten. Price, p. 34. Alternate tune: MELITA, John B. Dykes, 1861
Tune Information
Meter: 88.88.88
Key: c minor
Source: Sup­ple­ment to the New Ver­sion, by Na­hum Tate & Ni­cho­las Brady, 1700

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