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Lay for the Day
4th November


1740: Augustus Toplady is born at Farnham in Surrey. Sometime in the early 1760s, when he was vicar of Blagdon in Somerset, he was caught in a storm while walking in the Cheddar Gorge, and took refuge in a deep fissure of the limestone cliffs. The experience inspired one of the best-loved hymns in the English language, “Rock of ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in thee”.
Rev Toplady died of tuberculosis in 1778.


Dear Father


Dear father, lead me
Where I need no longer speak
Nor cry out in the weakness
Of my heart.
Since you’ve been gone
The hours crawl like minutes
And the days are just like weeks
And everything has fallen apart.

Would you lead a horse to water
And then not let him drink?
Would you lead someone to be something
Other than they think?
Oh Lord, it’s not in you
To do these things
Then teach me how to use
These hands.

Most high rider
On a rolling cloud,
The door to your glory
Is still standing proud
And the keys to the kingdom
Are crying out loud
To be found in the pocket
Of my shroud.

It’s hard to be sincere
With a sin-sick soul,
Or to find any peace
When your heart’s unwhole,
Or to quench your gorge
With a burning coal
But when his hand upholds you
That bread’s worth more than gold.

Most high rider
On a rolling cloud,
The keys to the kingdom
Are crying out loud
To be found in the pocket
Of my shroud
And the door to your glory
Is standing unbowed.

Words and music by The Children

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar