The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Awake my Soul, and With the Sun

The Morning Hymn of Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

First published in 1695; Text of 1697.
Compare: Awake my Soul, and With the Sun - 1709

Source: Roundell Palmer, ed., Morning, Evening, and Midnight Hymns (London: Daniel Sedgwick, 1864), pp. 1-2.

Awake my Soul, and with the Sun,
Thy daily stage of Duty run ;
Shake off dull Sloth, and early rise,
To pay thy Morning Sacrifice.

Redeem thy mispent time that's past,
Live this day, as if 'twere thy last :
T'improve thy Talent take due care,
'Gainst the great Day thyself prepare.

Let all thy Converse be sincere,
Thy Conscience as the Noon-day clear ;
Think how all-seeing God thy ways,
And all thy secret Thoughts surveys.

Influenc'd by the Light Divine,
Let thy own Light in good Works shine :
Reflect all Heaven's propitious ways,
In ardent Love, and chearful Praise.

Wake and lift up thy self my Heart,
And with the Angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing,
Glory to the Eternal King.

I wake, I wake, ye Heavenly Choire,
May your Devotion me inspire,
That I like you my Age may spend,
Like you may on my God attend.

May I like you in God delight,
Have all day long my God in sight,
Perform like you my Maker's Will,
O may I nevermore do ?

Had I your Wings, to Heaven I'd flie,
But God shall that defect supply,
And my Soul wing'd with warm desire,
Shall all day long to Heav'n aspire.

Glory to Thee who safe hast kept,
And hast refresht me whilst I slept.
Grant Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless Light partake.

I would not wake, nor rise again,
Ev'n Heav'n it self I would disdain ;
Wer't not Thou there to be enjoy'd,
And I in Hymns to be imploy'd.

Heav'n is, dear Lord, where e'r Thou art,
O never then from me depart ;
For to my Soul 'tis Hell to be,
But for one moment without Thee.

Lord I my vows to Thee renew,
Scatter my sins as Morning dew,
Guard my first springs of Thought, and Will,
And with Thy self my Spirit fill.

Direct, controul, suggest this day,
All I design, or do, or say ;
That all my Powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole Glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all Creatures here below,
Praise Him above y' Angelick Host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


This is the first version of this hymn written by Bishop Ken. A second version was published in 1709. See: Awake my Soul, and With the Sun - 1709

It is written that Bishop Ken accompanied himself on a viol while singing this prayer. The tune is unknown.

The following is a letter written by the editor of the volume from which this version was taken. It helped to separate out some of the issues concerning this hymn that existed at that time. Subsequently, a copy of the 1709 Manual was discovered in a library.


October, 1863.

Dear Sir,

The authenticity of the text of Bishop Ken's Morning, Evening, and Midnight Hymns, as given in the "Book of Praise," from the Edition of 1712, has been called in question bу some writers, whose judgment, on such a point, is entitled to great consideration ; and for whom, personally, I entertain a most sincere respect. I therefore think it necessary to give you my reasons for differing from them, and for retaining my own opinion, that the text of 1712 was the result of the Bishop's revision of his own compositions.

The facts are these. The "Manual of Prayers for "Winchester Scholars" was originally published by Ken in 1674, (when he was thirty-seven years old, and a resident Fellow of Winchester College,) without any Hymns. It appears, however, from a passage in the " Manual," that the author had composed, for the use of the scholars, three Hymns, for " Morning," " Evening," and "Midnight;" of which copies must have been then in their hands.

In 1697, (six years after the Bishop had been deprived of his see, and twenty-three years after the first publication of the " Manual,") Charles Brome, a London bookseller, who had been the registered proprietor of the copyright of the "Manual" since 1680, brought out a new edition of that book, with the three Hymns added to it by way of appendix. The text of the Hymns, in this and three later editions (of 1703?, 1705, and 1709), is that for the exclusive authenticity of which the writers, to whom I refer, contend.

In 1704, there issued from the press of Richard Smith, another London bookseller, a book similar to the " Manual " in size and appearance, entitled, "A Conference between the Soul and Body concerning the Present and Future State ;" with a strong recommendation to the public from Dodwell, one of Ken's intimate friends, and perhaps, among all the Nonjurors, the person with whom Ken had the strictest agreement. No Hymns were appended to the first edition of this book ; but to the second (1705) there were added two "Morning" and "Evening" Hymns, with Bishop Ken's name as their author. The text of these Hymns differed, in many points, by alteration, transposition, and omission, and also by the addition of two new and incongruous stanzas at the end of the " Evening Hymn," from that of the " Manual ;" but it adhered to the text of the prior Editions of the "Manual" in most of those passages, which were afterwards altered in the "Manual" of 1712: and the only alterations which it had in common with those, afterwards found in the " Manual" of 1712, are the word "joyful," (in the third line of the Morning Hymn,) instead of "early," the words "All praise," instead of " Glory," (in the first line of the Evening Hymn) ; and a change in the order of two words, (" Thou not," instead of "not Thou") in the thirty-seventh line of the Morning Hymn.

Upon the appearance of this publication, the Bishop's publisher, Charles Brome, inserted in an edition of the "Manual" which he issued in the same year, 1705, an advertisement, stating, that the Bishop " absolutely disowned " the Hymns appended to the " Conference," and that " the genuine ones " were " to be had only of Charles Brome, bookseller, whose just property the original copy is." Notwithstanding this disclaimer, another book, called a " New Year's Gift," appeared in 1709 ; in which the text of the two Hymns, printed in the " Conference," was again given as Ken's. Brome met this publication (as he had done that of the " Conference ") by immediately issuing of new edition of the " Manual," with the same text as before ; and repeating his advertisement.

The Bishop died on the 19th March, 1711 (new style). The early editions of the " Manual " were numerous, and most of them are now rare : it is by no means certain that the text of the Hymns, as published in 1712, did not appear in his lifetime. But this, at least, is certain, that in 1712, little more than a year after the Bishop's death, a new edition of the "Manual" was published by Charles Brome, in which the text of the Hymns was given by him, and upon his authority, exactly as it stands in the " Book of Praise," (except that, in the twenty-first line of the Morning Hymn, the old reading, " I wake, I wake," was still retained ; the correction, or substitution, of " Awake, Awake" being first made in a later edition ;) and, at the same time, the advertisement of 1705, repudiating as spurious the Hymns of the " Conference," and stating that " the genuine ones are to be had only of Charles Brome," &c., was repeated, as it continued to be in still later editions.

The text of 1712, without any further change, (except that just noticed), was repeated in every later edition of the "Manual;" that of 1697—1709 never afterwards re-appearing, until brought forward in Mr. Anderdon's biography :—nor does it appear that any exception was ever, until now, taken to the authenticity of Brome's text of 1712, and of the subsequent editions, notwithstanding the fact, that several of the readings of the original text of the Morning and Evening Hymns, which had been altered in 1712, have continued to be current in popular hymn-books down to the present day.

The theory of those who now dispute the authenticity of this text must be, that Brome, the proprietor of the copyright, who was most interested in maintaining the credit and value of the genuine text, and who was so prompt to resent and expose its corruption by another band, was himself guilty of largely corrupting it—for no conceivable motive—as soon as the Bishop was in his grave ; and that the original and only genuine text was suppressed by him, once for all, without objection or remonstrance from any one, and with the acquiescence of everybody even at Winchester College, where the " Manual " must have been in most frequent demand and use, and where the original text of the Hymns was familiarly known. This opinion seems to me to be contrary to the probability of the case, and without support from external or internal evidence.

Charles Brome must have known, whether the text which he published in 1712 was genuine or not ; and the mere fact, that he published it as genuine, without explanation or observation, seems to me to be good prima facie evidence that it was so. He certainly enjoyed the Bishop's confidence, and had transactions with him in business, as appears by a letter from the Bishop to Dr. T. Smith, dated in 1694, (Anderdon's "Life," p. 425,) in which he requests Dr. Smith to call upon Brome for 50s. on his own (the Bishop's) account, for a charitable purpose.

It is also certain, that, in the retirement of his latter years at Longleat, the Bishop devoted much of his time and mind to poetical pursuits; and he left many poems in manuscript, which were first published after his death. That he should have revised the " Morning," " Evening," and " Midnight," Hymns, (especially after a spurious revision, purporting to be by himself, had gone abroad,) is, at least, not improbable ; and if he did so, the text so revised, would, as a matter of course, come into the hands of, and be published by, the owner of the copyright, Brome.

The alterations of 1712 are considered, by those who reject them, inferior in merit to the original text They do not, as a whole, by any means, seem so to me. On the contrary, I think they have internal evidence of being by the same hand : they improve the rhythm, (in the earlier text frequently defective,) and they do not anywhere injure or disturb the sense. They seem to me just such as the author, revising his early productions at a more advanced period of his life, and such as nobody but the author, would have made. It has been also suggested, that their doctrinal tone is lower than that of the original text : but I confess I am not myself able to perceive that difference.

Nor do I think that there is any sufficient argument to the contrary, derivable from the mere coincidence of some of those alterations with the readings of the " Conference," restricted, as that coincidence is, to the three small points which have been already mentioned. The author of the " Conference " was a friend of Dodwell's, and he may very possibly have seen, perhaps in Dodwell's hands, or at Winchester, authentic copies from some of the Bishop's own MSS., in which those readings occurred. One of them, (" All praise," instead of "Glory,") occurs once in each of the three Hymns, as given in the " Manual " of 1712; though in the "Conference," it is found in the Evening Hymn only. My own individual taste would lead me to prefer the trochee, "Glory;" but the alteration, for the sake of the adjective "All," is remarkably consistent with Bishop Ken's habit of prefixing to his letters, &c., in his later years, the words " A l l glory be to God ;" of which examples may be found in his Pastoral of 1686, and in his letters to Archbishop Sancroft, and Bishops Burnet, Hooper, and Lloyd, at pages 219, 254, 324, 362, 444, 448, 449, 459, and 460, of his Life by Mr. Anderdon. In the first volume, also, of his Poems, as published by Wyat in 1721, there is a series of twenty-four pieces on the Life and Ministry of our Lord, (most of them supposed to be recited by Apostles or Saints, while waiting for our Lord on Mount Tabor ;) of which the greater number have, towards the close, an antiphonal burden in two couplets, beginning, in sixteen cases out of twenty-one, with the words, " All praise to Jesus," and, in another case, with the words, " All praise to our Great Prophet ;" while, in the body of two other poems of the same series, which are without any similar burden, lines beginning " All praise to Jesus," and "All praise to God," likewise occur.

But there is a further, and to my mind stronger reason for believing, that the text of 1712 is really the result of a revision by Ken himself. It was characteristic of the Bishop, that when the language which he had used in any religious work was thought by others open to any serious cavil or misunderstanding, he would alter it, to avoid offence, and to make his meaning more clear. Thus ; in the first Edition (published in 1685) of his "Practice of Divine Love," there was a passage, in which some Roman Catholic writer professed to discover the doctrine of Transubstantiation. The Bishop at once altered it, in the Edition of 1686, saying, in the Preface ; " To prevent all misunderstandings for the future, he has, in his revising it, made some few little alterations; not at all varying his meaning, but his expressions, to render the whole as unexceptionable as becomes a book not designed for dispute, but for devotion." In 1687, he did exactly the same thing with respect to a passage in the "Manual" itself (to which, it is to be remembered, the Hymns were not then appended,) which had been alleged by the Romanists to give countenance to their doctrine and practice of the Invocation of Saints and Angels. The passage originally ran thus :—" Help me, then, ye blessed Host of Heaven, Jo celebrate that unknown sorrow, that wonderful Love, which you yourselves so much admire ; help me to praise my Crucified Saviour." This he altered, by omitting the petitionary words, " Help me," and modifying the rest of the language; explaining his reason for doing so, (in an Advertisement prefixed to the edition of 1687,) in these words:—

" Whereas a late Popish pamphlet has injuriously affirmed, that, in a Manual of Prayers for the use of the Scholars of Winchester College, I have taught the Scholars of Winchester to invocate the whole Court of Heaven; citing these words, page 93, Help me, ilien, 0 ye blessed. Host of Heaven, &c, I think myself obliged to declare, that, by that apostrophe, I did no more intend the Popish Invocation of Saints and Angels, than the holy Psalmist did, when he calls upon the Sun, Moon, and Stars, Fire, Hail, and Snow, &c, to praise God; Ps. 148; and, to prevent all future misinterpretations, I have altered, not the sense, but the words of that paragraph :" concluding with a profession of his entire agreement, on the point in controversy, with the 22nd Article of the Church of England.

Now, it can hardly be denied, that, if the passage in the " Manual " was calculated to give a handle for misrepresentation, which it was expedient to remove by some modification of the language, there was quite as much reason for altering a passage in the Evening Hymn, as originally composed, to which the same considerations would at least as strongly apply; and we find, accordingly, that exactly such an alteration as those considerations would suggest was made in the text of the Evening Hymn, as printed by Brome in 1712. The following extracts shew the original, and the altered, text:—1697.

" You, my blent guardian, whilst I sleep,
Close to my bed your vigils keep,
Divine love into me instil,
Stop all the avenues of ill,
Thought to thought with my Boui converse,
Celestial joys to me rehearse,
And in my stead, all the night long,
Sing to my God a grateful song !" 1712.
" O may my guardian, while I sleep,
Close to my bed his vigils keep,
His love angelical instil,
Stop all the avenues of ill;
May he celestial joy rehearse,
And thought to thought with me converse,
Or in my stead, all the night long,
Sing to my God a grateful song !"

The form of a prayer to God, for comfort and help, by the ministry of the Guardian Angel, is substituted for that of a petition to the Guardian Angel himself. It may, however, be asked, why, if this passage was altered by the Bishop for such a reason, the alteration was not sooner made; why the original text appeared unaltered in 1697, and so continued for twelve years afterwards, when the revision of the " Manual" had taken place so long before as 1687? To this inquiry I cannot give more than a conjectural answer. But it may be, that the text of the Hymns, published in 1697, (but evidently not included in the original MSS. of the " Manual"), was not obtained directly from the Bishop, but was procured by the publisher from "Winchester College; or that the public and other cares connected with the position of the Nonjuring Clergy, from which Ken had certainly not wholly withdrawn himself so early as 1696, prevented him from addressing his mind to the subject at that time. The Bishop, who had himself no superstitious meaning in what he originally wrote, and who only altered it in the " Manual" to avoid public offence, when it had been publicly misrepresented, might not have his attention drawn to the fact, that a passage in one of the Hymns was open to a similar objection, as long as those Hymns were only in private use ; and some time might well elapse after their publication before he was led to think of revising them, either by public or private criticism, or by such an occurrence as the appearance of an altered text under his name, which his publisher found it necessary to repudiate. Nor is it improbable that alterations, and various readings, originating with himself, might have obtained private circulation among his friends, long before he had made up his own mind to give them to the public ; a suggestion which may possibly help to explain the fact, that a writer, patronized by Dodwell, was misled into believing (for such a writer ought not lightly to be accused of a wilful fraud) that the text, published in the " Conference " under the Bishop's name, was really from his hand.

I have only a few words more to add, with respect to the reading " Awake, awake," (instead of " I wake, I wake,") in the 21st line of the Morning Hymn, which I have adopted from some of the later editions, issued by Charles Brome after 1712. This reading (I mention the fact, whichever way it may be thought to bear upon the argument,) is also found in the " Conference." Whether this or the " I wake," &c., of 1712, and of all the earlier editions, is the true reading, the variation between them may, not improbably, be due to the printer only. The press, at that period, was seldom well corrected; and other mere printers' errors are to be found in many of the editions of the " Manual." I look, therefore, to the sense : which seems to me to be in favour of the repetition of the imperative mood, (as in the first and fifth stanzas,) and not of the transition to the first person indicative. " I wake," in the sense of bodily waking from natural sleep, would be out of place, after five whole stanzas had been already spoken or sung; and, in a spiritual sense, as applied to the soul, the definiteness and positive tone of the first person indicative would seem to me to be rather repugnant to the character of the author and his theology, to the context and spirit of the rest of the composition, and to its design as a hymn for popular use, particularly by young persons.

I remain, dear Sir, yours truly,



Bishop Ken's Evening Hymn is All Praise To Thee My God This Night.

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