What are the lyrics to the hymn, ‘The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended’?

19 September 2022, 10:23 | Updated: 19 September 2022, 12:22

By Siena Linton

‘The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended’ is a 19th-century hymn and enduring royal favourite, from jubilee celebrations to state funerals.

The hymn ‘The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended’ was written in 1870 by the hymnodist John Ellerton, and is most often sung to a tune known as St. Clement, after its composer Reverend Clement Cotteril Scholefield.

The hymn’s wordsmith, Ellerton, wrote and translated over 80 hymns in his lifetime, many of which are still sung in services today.

‘The day thou gavest, Lord’ is an enduring favourite, and was notably sung at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897, and again at the 1997 ceremony which saw the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from the United Kingdom, to the People’s Republic of China.

It is also among the pieces of music performed at the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, taking place on 19 September 2022.

Read more: The Lord is my Shepherd: what are the lyrics for the hymn and who wrote the music?

What are the lyrics to ‘The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended’?

The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
the darkness falls at thy behest;
to thee our morning hymns ascended,
thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank thee that thy Church unsleeping,
while earth rolls onward into light,
through all the world her watch is keeping,
and rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
the dawn leads on another day,
the voice of prayer is never silent,
nor dies the strain of praise away.

The Choir of Westminster Abbey, led by music director James O’Donnell.
The Choir of Westminster Abbey, led by music director James O’Donnell. Picture: Alamy

The sun that bids us rest is waking
our brethren ’neath the western sky,
and hour by hour fresh lips are making
thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; thy throne shall never,
like earth’s proud empires, pass away;
thy kingdom stands, and grows for ever,
till all thy creatures own thy sway.