Olney Hymn 19: Contentment

written by William Cowper

Olney Hymn 19: Contentment

— William Cowper

Fierce passions discompose the mind,
As tempests vex the sea,
But calm, content and peace we find,
When, Lord, we turn to Thee.

In vain by reason and by rule
We try to bend the will;
For none but in the Saviour's school
Can learn the heavenly skill.

Since at His feet my soul has sate,
His gracious words to hear,
Contented with my present state,
I cast on Him my care.

'Art thou a sinner, soul?' He said,
'Then how canst thou complain?
How light thy troubles here, if weigh'd
With everlasting pain!

'If thou of murmuring wouldst be cured,
Compare thy griefs with mine!
Think what my love for thee endured,
And thou wilt not repine.

''Tis I appoint thy daily lot,
And I do all things well;
Thou soon shalt leave this wretched spot,
And rise with me to dwell.

'In life my grace shall strength supply,
Proportion'd to thy day;
At death thou still shalt find me nigh,
To wipe thy tears away.'

Thus I, who once my wretched days
In vain repinings spent,
Taught in my Saviour's school of grace,
Have learnt to be content.

About the poet


William Cowper

an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet", whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak. He was a nephew of the poet Judith Madan. While Cowper found refuge in a fervent evangelical Christianity, the inspiration behind his much-loved hymns, he often experienced doubt and feared that he was doomed to eternal damnation. His religious sentiment and association with John Newton (who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace") led to much of the poetry...

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