O Worship the King all glorious above

Full Text

1 O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

2 O tell of his might and sing of his grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

3 Your bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

4 Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in you do we trust, nor find you to fail.
Your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

5 O measureless Might, unchangeable Love,
whom angels delight to worship above!
Your ransomed creation, with glory ablaze,
in true adoration shall sing to your praise!

Psalter Hymnal, (Gray)

Author: Robert Grant

Grant, Sir Robert, second son of Mr. Charles Grant, sometime Member of Parliament for Inverness, and a Director of the East India Company, was born in 1785, and educated at Cambridge, where he graduated in 1806. Called to the English Bar in 1807, he became Member of Parliament for Inverness in 1826; a Privy Councillor in 1831; and Governor of Bombay, 1834. He died at Dapoorie, in Western India, July 9, 1838. As a hymnwriter of great merit he is well and favourably known. His hymns, "O worship the King"; "Saviour, when in dust to Thee"; and "When gathering clouds around I view," are widely used in all English-speaking countries. Some of those which are less known are marked by the same graceful versification and deep and tender feeling. The… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O Worship the King all glorious above
Author: Robert Grant (1833)
Meter: 10.10.11.11
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain
Liturgical Use: Opening Hymns

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 18:2, Dan. 7:9, 13, 22
st. 2 = Ps. 18:9-12, Ps. 104:1-3
st. 3 = Ps. 104:7-10
st. 5 = Ps. 145:10

Robert Grant (b. Bengal, India, 1779; d. Dalpoorie, India, 1838) was influenced in writing this text by William Kethe’s (PHH 100) paraphrase of Psalm 104 in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter (1561). Grant’s text was first published in Edward Bickersteth’s Christian Psalmody (1833) with several unauthorized alterations. In 1835 his original six-stanza text was published in Henry Elliott’s Psalm and Hymns. Stanza 3 was omitted in the Psalter Hymnal.

Rather than being a paraphrase or versification, the text is a meditation on the creation theme of Psalm 104. Stanzas 1-3, which allude to Psalm 104:1-6, focus on God’s creation as a testimony to his “measureless Might.” More personal in tone, stanzas 4 and 5 confess the compassion of God toward his creatures and affirm with apocalyptic vision that the “ransomed creation, with glory ablaze” will join with angels to hymn its praise to God.

Of Scottish ancestry, Grant was born in India, where his father was a director of the East India Company. He attended Magdalen College, Cambridge, and was called to the bar in 1807. He had a distinguished public career a Governor of Bombay and as a member of the British Parliament, where he sponsored a bill to remove civil restrictions on Jews. Grant was knighted in 1834. His hymn texts were published in the Christian Observer (1806-1815), in Elliot’s Psalms and Hymns (1835), and posthumously by his brother as Sacred Poems (1839).

Liturgical Use:
An opening hymn of praise; because of the hymn’s relationship to Psalm 104, see suggestions for use at PHH 104.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
=======================

O worship the King, All-glorious above. Sir R. Grant . [Psalms civ.] This version of Psalms civ. is W. Kethe's rendering of the same psalm in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter of 1561, reset by Sir R. Grant in the same metre but in a less quaint and much more ornate style, as a quotation of Kethe's stanzas i., iii. will show:—

"My ƒoule praise the Lord,
speake good of his Name
0 Lord our great God
how doeƒt thou appear?
So passing in glorie,
that great is thy fame,
Honour and maieƒtie,
in thee ƒhine moƒt cleare.

"His chamber beames lie,
in the clouds full ƒure,
Which as his chariot,
are made him to beare.
And there with much ƒwiftneƒƒ
his courƒe doth endure:
Vpon the wings riding.
Of winds in the aire."

Sir R. Grant's version was given in Bickersteth's Church Psalmody, 1833, No. 17; in Elliott's Psalms and Hymns, 1835; and in Lord Glenelg's edition of Grant's Sacred Poems. 1839, p. 33. From the Preface to Elliott's Psalms & Hymns we find that the text in Bickersteth was not authorized. It was altered from a source at present unknown to us. The authorized text is in the Hymnal Companion, 1876, with stanza ii., l. 3, thus-—
“His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form."
This text with the omission of the "the" is ill extensive use in all English-speaking countries. It is also in use in an abbreviated and slightly altered form as in Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1861 ; and in the full form, but still altered as before, in Hymns Ancient & Modern1875. The 1839 text is in Church Hymns, 1871; Hymnal Companion, 1876; Turing's Collection, 1882, and others. It has been translation into Latin by R. Bingham, in his Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871, p. 143, as, "Glorioso ferte Regi vota vestra carmine."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Tune

LYONS

LYONS, named for the French city Lyons, appeared with a reference to “Haydn” in volume 2 of William Gardiner’s (PHH 111) Sacred Melodies. However, the tune was never found in the works of Franz Joseph Haydn or those of his younger brother Johann Michael Haydn. Recent research revealed that the…

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HANOVER (Croft)

William Croft (b. Nether Ettington, Warwickshire, England, 1678; d. Bath, Somerset, England, 1727) was a boy chorister in the Chapel Royal in London and then an organist at St. Anne's, Soho. Later he became organist, composer, and master of the children of the Chapel Royal, and eventually organist a…

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Timeline

Media

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  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
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