“Jehovah, Thou hast promised,,The isles shall wait for Thee,” – A Hymn for Ceylon- By Rev.W.S. Senior


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Compliments of the Season everyone and best wishes for a bright and peaceful 2023.

I am beginning the new year by posting “The Hymn of Ceylon” on my Blog.

The “hymn of Ceylon” was written by by Rev. W. S. Senior. Walter Stanley Senior was a scholar, pastor, teacher and poet who served in Sri Lanka for many years as Vice Principal of Trinity College, Kandy and Vicar at Christ Church, Galle Face.

Rev. W.S. Senior’s ‘Hymn of Ceylon’. was always sung at the annual prize giving event of St. Thomas’ Preparatory School in Kollupitiya where I studied from 1959 to ’64. It is a Christian hymn and was set to the melody of ‘Danno Budunge’ by Devar Surya Sena as requested by Senior himself.

When we sang the lines ‘Give peace within her borders, Twixt man and man goodwill,’ in those days of innocent childhood, little did we realise that this blessed Island was going to be torn apart by a cruel war lasting for decades. The war has ended now. What is sad and troubling are the efforts by extremists on either side of the ethnic divide to whip up communal passions. One hopes and prays that saner counsel prevails and the merchandising of hatred ceases.

Here is Rev. Senior’s ‘The Hymn of Ceylon’ for the island and all her people.

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Jehovah, Thou hast promised
The isles shall wait for Thee,
The joyous isles of ocean,
The jewels of the sea.
Lo! we, this island’s watchmen
Would give and take no rest;
For thus hast Thou commanded
Till our dear land is blessed.

Then bless her mighty Father,
With blessings needed most,
In every verdant village,
By every palmy coast.
On every soaring mountain,
O’er every spreading plain,
May all her sons and daughters
Thy righteousness attain.

Give peace within her borders
Twixt man and man goodwill,
The love all unsuspicious,
The love that works no ill.
In loyal lowly service,
Let each from other learn,
The guardian and the guarded,
Till Christ Himself return.

To Him our land shall listen,
To Him our peoples kneel;
All rule be on His shoulder,
All wrong beneath His heel;
O consummation glorious
Which now by faith we sing;
Come, cast we up the highway
That brings us back our King!

D.B.S.Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

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