O perfect Love, all human thought transcendingAuthor: Dorothy F. Gurney (1883)
Tune: O PERFECT LOVE
Published in 174 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI, Recording
1 O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
Lowly we kneel in prayer before Thy throne,
That theirs may be the love that knows no ending,
Whom Thou forevermore dost join in one.
2 O perfect Life, be Thou their full assurance
Of tender charity and steadfast faith,
Of patient hope, and quiet, brave endurance,
With childlike trust that fears nor pain nor death.
3 Grant them the joy which brightens earthly sorrow;
Grant them the peace which calms all earthly strife,
And to life's day the glorious unknown morrow
That dawns upon eternal love and life.
The Hymnal: revised and enlarged as adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the year of our Lord 1892
|First Line:||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending|
|Author:||Dorothy F. Gurney (1883)|
st. 1 = Matt. 19:4-6, Eph.3:19, 1 Cor. 13:7, 13
One Sunday evening in 1884 at Pull Wyke, Cumberland, England, Dorothy Francis Blomfield (later Gurney; b. London, England, 1858; d. Kensington, London, 1932) wrote this text for her sister's wedding. The hymn tune STRENGTH AND STAY by John B. Dykes (PHH 147) was her sister's favorite, but that hymn's text (by Ellerton and Hort) included the line "the brightness of a holy death-bed," which made it inappropriate for a wedding. So her sister challenged her to write a new text to fit that tune.
At a later time Gurney said:
After about 15 minutes I came back with the hymn, "O Perfect Love," and there and then we all sang it to the tune of "O Strength and Stay." . . . The writing of it was no effort whatever after the initial idea came to me of the two-fold aspect of a perfect union, love and life, and I have always felt that God helped me to write it.
The text was published in the 1889 Supplement to Hymns Ancient and Modern with a reference to Ruth 1:17. Because of its use at the wedding of Princess Louise and the Duke of Fife that same year, it gained much popularity. Thereafter its place in many hymnals and at many weddings was assured.
"O Perfect Love" is a prayer that Christ's love and life may infuse a wedding couple's new life together. The text, however, would be stronger if it contained a direct address to God or Christ in more customary biblical terms. In 1897, several years after her sister's wedding, Dorothy Blomfield also married. She and her husband, Gerald Gurney, were both children of Anglican clergymen. Initially an actor, Gerald was later ordained in the Church of England. But in 1919 Gerald and Dorothy joined the Roman Catholic community at Farnborough Abbey. Dorothy Gurney wrote several volumes of verse, including A Little Book of Quiet, which contained the once well-known poem "God's Garden."
Weddings (sparingly); renewal of wedding vows in family services with a marriage renewal emphasis.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
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|Instances (20)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|African American Heritage Hymnal #520||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney, 1858-1932||Joseph Barnby, 1838-1896||18.104.22.168||Genesis 2:24||O PERFECT LOVE||D Major||English||2001|
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #512||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,||O Perfect Love||Dorothy B. Gurney||Joseph Barnby; John Stainer||22.214.171.124||Ephesians 3:17||O PERFECT LOVE||E Flat Major||1991|
|Celebration Hymnal #458||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,||O Perfect Love||[O Perfect Love]||E Flat Major||1997|
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #600||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney, 1858-1932||Joseph Barnby, 1838-96||126.96.36.199||O PERFECT LOVE||D Major||1993|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #544||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||2000|
|Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #544||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #517||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||188.8.131.52||2000|
|Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #280||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||184.108.40.206||1983|
|Hymns of Faith #542||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||John Ellerton; Dorothy F. Gurney||Joseph Barnby||Ephesians 5:25; Ephesians 5:31||[O perfect love, all human thought transcending]||E Flat Major||1980|
|Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #387||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||220.127.116.11||1996|
|Presbyterian Hymnal #533||O perfect love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney||Sir Joseph Barnby||18.104.22.168||Matthew 19:4-6||PERFECT LOVE||D Major||English||1990|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #580||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney||Sir Joseph Barnby||22.214.171.124||Matthew 19:4-6; John 2:2; Matthew 19:6; John 2||O PERFECT LOVE||E Flat Major||English||1987|
|Revival Hymns and Choruses #474a||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy B. Gurney, 1858-1932||Joseph Barnby, 1838-1896||O PERFECT LOVE||D Major||English||1982|
|Sing Joyfully #609||O perfect Love||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney; John Ellerton||Joseph Barnby||[O perfect Love]||E Flat Major||English||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #645||O perfect Love, all human thoughts transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy B. Gurney||Joseph Barnby||126.96.36.199||PERFECT LOVE||D Major||English||1989|
|The Worshiping Church #388||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney||Joseph Barnby||188.8.131.52||1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:21; 1 John 4:12||O PERFECT LOVE||E Flat Major||English||1990|
|Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #603||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||184.108.40.206||1999|
|Trinity Hymnal #722||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney; John Ellerton||Sir Joseph Barnby||220.127.116.11||PERFECT LOVE||D Major||English||1990|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #491||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy Frances Gurney||Joseph Barnby||18.104.22.168||O PERFECT LOVE||D Major||English||1996|
|Worship and Rejoice #610||O perfect Love, all human thought transcending||O Perfect Love||Dorothy F. Gurney, 1858-1932||Joseph Barnby, 1838-1896||22.214.171.124||Ephesians 3:20; Isaiah 55:8; Galatians 5:22; Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 4:12; Romans 8:37-39; Ephesians 5:22; John 14:27||O PERFECT LOVE||D Major||English||2001|