Except the Lord build the house (William Billings)
- Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-02-28). Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 154 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: Oval note edition. Originally published in A Major, this edition in G Major, following a note by Billings, "Set this piece in G."
Title: Except the Lord build the house
Composer: William Billings
Number of voices: 4vv Voicing: SATB
Genre: Sacred, Anthem
Instruments: A cappella
First published: 1786 in The Suffolk Harmony
Description: Published as a separate in 1786, according to Kroeger (1986), bound in with copies of The Suffolk Harmony. Words adapted by Billings from Psalm 127.
Original text and translations
Except the Lord build the house,
Their labor is but lost that built it.
Except the Lord keep the city,
The watchmen waketh in vain.
It is but lost labor
That you haste to rise up early,
And so late take rest,
And eat the bread of carefulness.
Lo, children are an heritage,
And gift that cometh from the Lord.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.
He shall not be ashamed to speak
With his enemies in the gate.