Retrospect (William Billings)

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  • (Posted 2015-06-26)  CPDL #35896:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-06-26).   Score information: Letter, 9 pages, 210 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: As written in 1778.

General Information

Title: Retrospect
First Line: Was not the day dark and gloomy
Composer: William Billings

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredAnthem

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1778 in The Singing Master's Assistant
Description: First published in The Singing-Master's Assistant, 1778, pp. 81-90. Words adapted "from sundry Scriptures," apparently by Billings.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Was not the day dark and gloomy.
The enemy said, Let us draw a line, even from York to Canada.

But praised be the Lord,
The snare is broken, and we are escaped. (Psalm 124:7)

Hark! Hear the adjuration:
Cursed be the man that keepeth back his sword. (Jeremiah 48:10)
Oh! Dismal! Oh! Horrible!

My bowels, I am pained at my very heart.
My heart maketh a noise within me.
For thou hast heard, O my soul,
The sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)

See my father, behold my brother,
Hear him groan, see him die.

O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet?
Put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest and be still. (Jeremiah 47:6)

Cause us to hear with joy Thy kind forgiving voice,
That so the bones which Thou hast broke
May with fresh strength rejoice. (Psalm 51:8)

Hark! My soul, catch the sound.
Hear and rejoice.

Beat your swords into plowshares,
And your spears into pruning hooks,
And learn war no more. (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3)

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good tidings, that publisheth peace. (Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15)
Peace be on earth, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)

Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)
Hallelujah! Amen.