For Even From My Youth, O God

Words: Psalm 71:17-22, from The Scottish Psalter

Music   Dwight Armstrong
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  1. For even from my youth, O God,
        by thee I have been taught;
     And hitherto I have declared
        the wonders thou hast wrought.
     And now, O God, forsake me not
        When I am old and gray;
     Till I proclaim Thy wondrous deeds
        To this an every age.
  2. Thy perfect righteousness, O God,
        The heaven's height exceeds;
     O God, who is like Thee, who has 
        performed such mighty deeds
***  Thou who hast sent me many griefs
        Wilt yet my soul restore,
     And out of sorrow's lowest depths
        Wilt bring me forth once more.
  3. My greatness and my pow'r Thou will
        increase and far extend;
     Against all grief on ev'ry side
        to me will comfort send.
     And I will also praise Thy truth,
        O God, with psaltery;
     Thou Holy One of Israel,
        With harp I'll sing to thee.

*** We have always liked the melody to this hymn, but have been bothered by the sound of the words of this stanza that were adopted for the 1974 hymnal. They went like this:

  Thou who hast shown me trials sore
     and great adversities;
  Will quicken me again and bring
     me from the depths of earth

This reading introduces a terrible discordant sound to the words that is out of keeping with the beauty of the tune, and very un-poetic. The change appears to be unnecessary. For example, here is the reading from the old gray "Radio Church of God" hymnal, which retained the reading from the Scottish Psalter:

  20  Thou, Lord, who great adversities,
         and sore, to me didst show,
      Shalt quicken, and bring me again
         from depths of earth below.

Unfortunately,  although this archaic language follows the Psalm very closely, it is also difficult for the modern ear to understand.  That is why we substituted our own phrasing in the song above. Both to improve the poetry of the words, and to update the language a bit.

As we have studied various versions of many historical hymns we have seen similar alterations with time. Perhaps this slight adjustment to this otherwise quite good hymn can find a place.

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Page last modified on: 07/29/2004