Samuel the priest gave up the ghost (William Billings)

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  • (Posted 2023-12-14)  CPDL #78203:         
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2023-12-14).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 60 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: This is Billings' slightly shortened, edited version, with the first line "Have pity on me, O ye my friends". This version first appears in Massachusetts Historical Society Ms. S-290. Transcribed from Harmony of Harmony, 1802.
  • (Posted 2015-02-26)  CPDL #34682:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-02-26).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 125 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition. Transcribed from The Suffolk Harmony, 1786.

General Information

Title: Samuel the priest gave up the ghost
Composer: William Billings

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

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1786 in The Suffolk Harmony, no. 31, p. 52
    Manuscript ca. 1790 – shortened at beginning, in Massachusetts Historical Society Ms. S-290, no. 8
    2nd published: 1802 – shortened at beginning, in Harmony of Harmony, no. 99
Description: This anthem first appeared in The Suffolk Harmony, 1786. At some point it was altered by Billings, who removed the first phrase (from 1 Samuel 2:1) and rearranged the rest: the result appears in the Massachusetts Historical Society Ms. S-290 manuscript, ca. 1790, with first words "Have pity on me, O ye my friends". This altered version was first published by Billings' student, Jacob French, posthumously in 1802. Words adapted by Billings "from sundry Scriptures," portions of 1 Samuel, Job, and the Psalms.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Samuel the priest gave up the ghost,
And all Israel mourned. (1 Samuel 2:1)

Have pity on me, O ye my friends,
For the hand of God hath touched me. (Job 19:21)

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me,
And mine acquaintance into darkness. (Psalm 88:18)

I am weary with my groaning all the night,
Make I my bed to swim,
I water my couch with my tears. (Psalm 6:6)

My soul cleaveth unto the dust,
My soul melteth for heaviness. (Psalm 119:25)

Naked I came out of my mother's womb,
And naked shall I return.
The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away.
And blessed be the name of the Lord! (Job 1:21)