William Jackson (of Exeter)
(1730 - 1803)

Jackson (of Exeter) : Hear me, O God : illustration

Hear me, O God
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Publ. 1766 in Jackson's Op. 5.

Jackson was most interested in discussing the aesthetics of his art (he corresponded with Thomas Gainsborough on this topic). In the frontispiece to this item he observed: "The psalms abound with [such] poetry, both in the penitential and thanksgiving style; tho' there are but few of them, as entire pieces, fit for music. For this reason, I have taken the liberty of collecting sentiments scattered thro' various psalms; it being easier to form than to find such a succession of passages as suited to my purpose. Lest it may be imagined that I have destroyed a connection, instead of making it; I will here subjoin the words I have chosen, for the convenience of reading them at once. Whoever will take the trouble of picking them out from the original, will find them in (and about) the sixty-ninth psalm, and will see that I have not inserted, nor altered any thing; but have only brought such thoughts together as might naturally occur to a mind oppressed with affliction; and at last, deriving hope from a remembrance of former mercies. A greater transition than this, appears to me unnatural...I have aimed more at style, than composition. There is intended to be contrivance enough to engage, without perplexing the attention. I would be easily understood by the ignorant, but not so perfectly to discard art as to be despised by the skilful."

Jackson's apologia for selecting text from the psalms perhaps appears over-cautious. But one must remember that amongst both public and clergy there was considerable outrage against Jennens' compilation of texts for Messiah, only just over twenty years earlier. For this reason, in certain quarters, Messiah was termed "idolatry", until at least the 1780s.
Lyrics: "In (and about) the sixty-ninth psalm"

Hear me, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy; they that are my enemies are mighty!
Hide not thy face from thy servant, O haste thee, and hear me.

Deliver me out of the hand of the ungodly, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
Cast me not away in the time of my age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.
Thou hast been my succour; O leave me not, forsake me not, O God of my salvation!

In thee, O Lord, I put my trust!
Turn thee unto me, have mercy upon me; so will I thank thee with my whole heart, and praise thy name for evermore.