Night Thought (Jeremiah Ingalls)

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  • (Posted 2017-03-29)   CPDL #43820:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-03-29).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 90 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition, as written in 1805. Six more pairs of stanzas added, from the text printed in Ingalls (1805). MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.
  • (Posted 2017-03-29)   CPDL #43819:   
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-03-29).   Score information: 7 x 10 inches (landscape), 1 page, 91 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Note shapes added (4-shape). Six more pairs of stanzas added, from the text printed in Ingalls (1805).

General Information

Title: Night Thought
First Line: How can I sleep, when angels sing
Composer: Jeremiah Ingalls
Lyricist: Anonymous

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: Sacred   Meter: 86. 86. D (C.M.D.)

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1805 in Ingalls' The Christian Harmony, pp. 165-166

Description: A folk hymn, based in part on an old English song, The Death of Robin Hood (Jackson 1953b, no. 65). Words by an unknown author, apparently first published in Ingalls' book in 1805, with 14 stanzas. Ingalls used first two stanzas in his composition.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1. How can I sleep, when angels sing,
And all the saints on high
Cry glory to th' eternal King,
The Lamb that once did die.

2. When guardian angels fill the room,
And hovering round my bed,
Do clap their wings, in love to him,
Who is my glorious head.

3. O ! how can I inactive lie,
And thoughtless all the night.
When those celestial spirits praise
The Lord with all their might.

4. Such joyful spirits never sleep
Their love is ever new;
Then, O my soul, no longer cease
To love and praise him too.


5. For I, of all the race. that fell,
Or all the heavenly host,
Have greatest cause with humbler soul
To love and praise him most.

6. Did God the Father love men so.
As to give up his Son,
To be a ransom, and redeem
Them from the sins they’d done.

7. Did Jesus leave the Father’s breast,
That heaven of heavens on high,
To come to earth, this world of woe,
For guilty worms to die.

8. And has the Holy Ghost applied
The blood of Christ to me,
To cleanse my guilty soul from sin,
And let my spirit free?


9. With me O heaven and earth admire,
Who am of all the race,
The chiefest sinner, and deserve,
In hell, the hottest place.

10. Yet mercy here and truth doth meet,
And God can justify,
Through Jesus Christ's most precious blood,
So vile a wretch as I.

11. No longer then will I lie here.
But rise and praise and pray;
And join to sing while I enjoy
A glimpse of heavenly day.

12. I’ll view the glories of the Lord,
And serve him all my days.
For what he in his essence is,
My soul shall sing his praise.


13. Such glories bind my soul to him.
While them, by faith, I see,
For thanks, adore him, O my soul,
And for his gifts to me.

14. Thanks to the Father for his Son;
To Christ for righteousness,
And the Spirit, because that he
My soul in it did dress.