Except the Lord build the house (William Billings)

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  • (Posted 2015-02-28)   CPDL #34687:     
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-02-28).   Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 154 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Oval note edition. Originally published in A Major, this edition in G Major, following a note by Billings, "Set this piece in G."

General Information

Title: Except the Lord build the house
Composer: William Billings

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

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1786 in The Suffolk Harmony

Description: Published as a separate in 1786, according to Kroeger (1986), bound in with copies of The Suffolk Harmony. Words adapted by Billings from Psalm 127.

External websites: [1]

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Except the Lord build the house,
Their labor is but lost that built it.
Except the Lord keep the city,
The watchmen waketh in vain.
It is but lost labor
That you haste to rise up early,
And so late take rest,
And eat the bread of carefulness.
Lo, children are an heritage,
And gift that cometh from the Lord.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.
He shall not be ashamed to speak
With his enemies in the gate.