Prepare new honors for His name, and songs before unknown.

Isaac Watts’ most famous paraphrase was captioned, “Man frail, and God eternal”. We know it better as “O God Our Help.”

  1. O God, our help in ages past,
    Our hope for years to come,
    Our shelter from the stormy blast,
    And our eternal home.
  1. Under the shadow of Thy throne
    Thy saints have dwelt secure;
    Sufficient is thine arm alone,
    And our defense is sure.
  1. Before the hills in order stood
    Or earth received her frame
    From everlasting thou art God
    To endless years the same.
  1. A thousand ages in Thy sight
    Are like an evening gone,
    Short as the watch that ends the night
    Before the rising sun.
  1. O God, our help in ages past
    Our hope for years to come
    Be Thou our Guide while life shall last
    And our eternal home.

From Isaac Watts’ The Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, and Applied to the Christian State and Worship, Psalm 103, Part I (verses 1-7), first verse, and Psalm 103, Part II (verses 8-18), first, seventh, and ninth verses.

Psalms of David Psalm 103 part I on

Notes on the Descant

The descant is written to fit above the tune “St. Anne” as commonly harmonized, i.e., there is no re-arrangement of the other voice parts. The descant starts in unison with the soprano part, dividing at the second beat of the second full measure. Occasional use of eighth-note movement with passing tones or chord sevenths adds interest above the sturdy 4/4 melody. Adding chord sevenths allows an emphasis on V7-I progressions at the end of the first, second, and fourth lines (lyrics “ages past,” “to come”, and “eternal home”), and the beginning of the third line (“Be Thou”).

O God, Our Help

Isaac Watts, 1719

St. Anne

Scores MIDI Audio
Shape notes Round notesSATB w/Desc. D S A T B