The Doxology ~ Awake My Soul and With the Sun

 Thomas Ken ~ (1637-1711)

Words: Thom­as Ken, Man­u­al of Pray­ers for the Use of the Schol­ars of Win­ches­ter Col­lege, 1674.


Ken wrote this hymn at a time when the es­tab­lished church be­lieved on­ly Script­ure should be sung as hymns—with an em­pha­sis on the Psalms. Some con­sid­ered it sin­ful and blas­phe­mous to write new lyr­ics for church mu­sic, akin to ad­ding to the Script­ures. In that at­mo­sphere, Ken wrote this and sev­er­al other hymns for the boys at Win­chest­er Col­lege, with strict in­struct­ions that they use them on­ly in their rooms, for pri­vate de­vo­tions. Iron­ic­al­ly, the last stan­za has come into wide­spread use as the Dox­ol­o­gy, per­haps the most fr­equent­ly used piece of mu­sic in pub­lic wor­ship. At Ken’s request, the hymn was sung at his fun­er­al, fit­tingly held at sun­rise.

 Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Thy precious time misspent, redeem,
Each present day thy last esteem,
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

By influence of the Light divine
Let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how all seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

All praise to Thee, Who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.

Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

I would not wake nor rise again
And Heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,
And I in hymns to be employed.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

So…I was very surprised to find out that there is so much more to the Doxology and that it was taken from a longer hymn called Awake My Soul and With the Sun. I’m glad to know the whole story behind this great piece probably every one of us has sung time and time again! Thanks Rich for the post on your blog!

ht: Rich Sclafani

About Ellen am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

10 thoughts on “The Doxology ~ Awake My Soul and With the Sun

  1. Wow! Long hymn but great words. To think we only sing the last part of that deep and thought provoking hymn – A prayer and devotional all in one! Love it. Thanks for posting.

  2. OH! I did not know this was a portion of a hymn! I love the entire hymn and sat here and sang it through, all alone, in front of my computer.

    Thank you for posting this and teaching us about the genesis of something so familiar!

  3. Lana, Kim, and Rosemary,
    I was pretty shocked when I saw the whole hymn on a friends blog. Then when I read the story about Ken and how it all came about I had to share. God has really blessed some of our fellow believers with such a creative gift of expression.

  4. I always knew the Doxology was part of a larger hymn, because at my church they always say “Hymn 380, verse 3” for where to find the Doxology. But this is definitely not the hymn in our hymnal, because that’s only three verses long.

    Back from some research – ours is actually a hodgepodge: That last verse is from the Thomas Ken original, but the first two verses were written by Isaac Watts. Here it is:

    1 From all that dwell below the skies
    let the Creator’s praise arise!
    Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung
    through every land, by every tongue!

    2 Eternal are thy mercies, Lord;
    and truth eternal is thy word:
    thy praise shall sound from shore to shore
    till suns rise and set no more.

    3 Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
    praise him, all creatures here below;
    praise him above, ye heavenly host:
    praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

    In case you’re wondering, I’m an Episcopalian and our hymnal is the “Hymnal 1982.” I didn’t realize until just this summer that different denominations used different hymnals – the Catholic churches I went to with my cousin had two hymnals and no Book of Common Prayer – very strange for me (and difficult, as I don’t know their service except the bits that are the same as ours).

    Oh! I’ve just listened to the tune from that link you showed me. Is that the tune you use in your church? Because it’s different from the one we use – this is ours:

    How weird! The current choirmaster at my church is fond of changing up the tunes for the service music, but this is one that’s never changed for us, so it’s a little odd for me. xD

    Funny that I never really think beyond what my church does, and then am surprised when other churches do things differently. >.>

  5. Hello. I am doing a research paper on this song and Thomas Ken. Anyone have any good sources that I could use to get information…especially about the conversion from a hymn to the doxology.
    Anything would be helpful!

  6. Pingback: Sunday Song: Timshel | The Line

  7. Thank u for sharing! I did know the story of this great Hymn but what I’m searching for and cannot find is the music.. I mean the mp3 version and not only instrumental. If anyone of u guys knows where to find it please let me know! 🙂
    my email address is
    Thank u vrery much! GBU!

  8. Wow, I never thought there was more than one verse to that song until last week when we sang two verses of it. I, like another who commented, sang the entire thing all alone in front of my computer screen. What wonderful words!

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