William Billings
(1746 - 1800)

Billings : Universal praise : illustration

Universal praise
(S.A.T.B. + reduction)
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An anthem from Billings' Continental Harmony, 1794. The reduction should be reserved for rehearsal. I have attempted to preserve the differences in relative speed shewn in the original. Billings' own absolute tempi are well documented (generally a pulse of c. 60 per minute in this piece) but have been increased, more readily to accord with the modern audience's attention span.
Lyrics: Psalm 149 (freely adapted)

O praise God, praise him in his holiness,
Praise him propagation, praise him vegetation,
And let your voice proclaim your choice,
And testify to standers by,
With ardent fire, your firm desire to praise the Lord.
Let the leading bass inspire, and stimulate with ardent fire,
Let the tenor catch the fire, and specify their firm desire,
Let the counter still be high'r, until all the parts have join'd the choir.
Let the treble join the choir.
Let all agree and join with me, to praise the Lord.
Shout ye hills and sing ye plains, tell the earth Jehovah reigns,
Sound the trumpets, beat the drums, tell the earth Jehovah comes,
Sound the trumpets, roll the drums, tell the earth Jehovah comes,
To judge the world in righteousness, and ev'ry injur'd saint redress,
Let all agree, and join with me to praise the Lord.
O praise the Lord with one consent, and in this grand design,
Young men and maids, old men and babes, unanimously join,
Let all agree, and join with me to praise the Lord.
Let the organ strike a chord, and sound the praise of Jubal's God,
Praise him on the harp and lute and let not any string be mute
But all agree, and join with me to praise the Lord.
Hark, hear the sheep, how they bleat, and sound their maker's praise,
Their voice for shame and catch the flame of universal praise.
Praise the Lord. Let the hearers fill their part,
Tho' mute in voice yet join in heart and praise the Lord.
Hallelujah, Amen.