The Clouds Hang Low &
Human Hearts are Breaking
A Hymn


The clouds hang low, and human hearts are breaking
O’er all the earth to‑day;
Yet through the gloom a low, sweet song, awaking,
Breaks through the shadows grey.

Gladness will come! Hallelujah! it is coming;
Gladness is on the way.
God will unveil the fulness of His mercy,
Gladness will come to stay.

Soon the dark pall, so long the world enshrouding,
Hiding the blessed light;
Shall disappear like mists before the morning,
Scat’ring the shades of night.

Desolate souls, your vanished loved ones mourning,
Soon will your pain be o’er;
Your arms shall clasp their dear and long lost treasures,
Gladness will come once more.

Sad hearts, look up! The glorious dawn is coming,
E’en now the murky skies
Glow in the east, and flush with rosy promise,
Greeting your longing eyes.

Earth yet will smile in more than Eden‑glory,
Sighing will flee away;
Tears will not mar life’s beautiful to‑morrow,
Gladness will come to stay.


These words are attributed to M.L.McPhail (1854-1931) a hymnwriter of the late 19th century Bible Student movement. Born in Scotland before emigrating to Northeast United States of America. 22 hymns are listed as his and they appear in two main hymnals “Zion’s Glad Songs” and “Winnowed Anthems.” In regard to this hymn of coming gladness it is worthy of note that his son died in 1897.

He made a Pilgrim visit in 1905 to this side of the Atlantic and visited 48 churches from Brighton on the south coast to Dundee in the Scottish lowlands as well as Belfast and Dublin on the island of Ireland. (ref. Bible Students in Britain, A. O. Hudson)

Here are some verses from the Bible which could have influenced the writer:

Psalm 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

Ezekiel 30:3 (RSV) For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.

Psalm 119:64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy.

Isaiah 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

Psalm 30:5 (RSV) Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Revelation 21:4 God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Acts 17:15&18 They that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens…Then certain philosophers…said, What will this babbler say?... He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

John 5:28‑29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.and shall come forth.

Acts 4:2 They taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Ezekiel 43:2 The glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

Luke 21:28 When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Matt.24:27 (RVIC) As the breaking sunshine cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the presence of the Son of man.

Isaiah 51:3 The LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Isaiah 51:11 The redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.