O God, Our Help in Ages Past
is a hymn by Isaac Watts
and paraphrases Psalm
90. It originally consisted of nine stanzas. In present usage, however, the hymn is usually limited to stanzas one, two, three, five and nine. In 1738
, John Wesley
in his hymnal, Psalms and Hymns
, changed the first line of the text from "Our God" to "O God."
The hymn was originally part of The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament
, published by Watts in 1719
. In this book he paraphrased in Christian verse
the entire psalter
with the exception of twelve Psalms which he felt were unsuited for Christian usage.
The hymn, is often sung as part of the remembrance day
service in Canada
and festive occasions in England
The hymn tune
"St. Anne" (common metre
86.86) to which the text is most often sung was composed by William Croft
whilst he was the organist of the church of St Anne, Soho: hence the name of the tune. It first appeared anonymously in the Supplement to the New Version of the Psalms, 6th edition
. It was originally intended to be used with a version of Psalm 62. It was not until sometime later when set to Watts' text that the tune gained recognition.
Later composers subsequently incorporated the tune in their own works. For example, George Handel
used the tune in an anthem entitled, "O Praise the Lord". J. S. Bach
's Fugue in E-flat major BWV
552 is often called the "St. Anne" in the English speaking world,... Read More