O Worship the King all glorious aboveAuthor: Robert Grant (1833)
Published in 929 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
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)
|First Line:||O Worship the King all glorious above|
|Author:||Robert Grant (1833)|
|Liturgical Use:||Opening Hymns|
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).
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)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” These may be some of the best-known words in the Bible, but in 1835, Robert Grant wrote a text that helps us see the creation story in a new light. His meditation on the creation theme of Psalm 104 consists of six verses that parallel the six days of creation. But rather than simply paraphrase the psalm or the first two books of the Bible, Grant focuses on how creation is a testimony to God’s “measureless might.” And Grant’s beautiful text doesn’t stop at Genesis Two. Rather, in the fourth and fifth verse we celebrate God’s saving grace to his creation. When God took that seventh day of rest, he was not signaling an end. He continued to bless His creation, even those as feeble and frail as us. In the last verse, Grant points to Christ as the ultimate reconciler of a broken, but still beautiful creation. An original last stanza that we no longer sing reads, “The humbler creation, though feeble their lays, with true adoration shall lisp to Thy praise.”
Grant’s text is a resetting of William Kethe’s rendering of Psalm 104 first published in 1561. Albert Bailey wrote of this text: “It is no small accomplishment to combine, as this hymn does, the majestic, the tender, and a smooth-flowing poetical rendering” (Gospel in Hymns, 182). The text has not been changed much from Grant’s original. Some verses are not included in all hymnals – unlike most hymnals, the Psalter Hymnal leaves out the original third stanza, which reads, “The earth with its store of wonders untold, Almighty, thy power hath founded of old; hath ‘stablished it fast by a changeless decree, and round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.” The Psalter Hymnal does, however, include a verse many hymnals leave out, beginning “O measureless Might.”
The most common tune for Grant’s text is LYONS. For most of the tune’s existence, its composition was attributed to either of the Haydn brothers. In 2000, Margaret K. Dismore discovered that the tune was actually composed by Joseph Martin Kraus, a German composer who was probably in London, along with Haydn, when Kraus’ sonata was premiered, the first line of which became the theme of this hymn tune. Hymn tune analyst Paul Westermeyer describes this tune as an example of a popular instrumental melody broken into a “congregational idiom,” and done quite well (Let the People Sing, 204).
A second tune that is often put to Grant’s text is HANOVER. This tune also had a mix-up over who actually composed it. For many years it was attributed to Handel, but is now generally ascribed to William Croft. Both of these tunes are excellent. HANOVER is spritely, but does jump around a bit melodically, while LYONS tends to have steadier climbs and natural progressions, and might be more comfortable for congregations, unless you’ve been singing HANOVER for a long time already. If you’re looking for an arrangement for worship band, Chris Tomlin has a version with an easily adaptable riff for violin or electric guitar, and a great original chorus.
“O Worship the King” is most often used as a hymn of gathering and a call to worship. It can be used any time during the liturgical calendar, but it would be especially fitting on Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent. It could be paired well with the contemporary song “He Reigns” and the great hymn, “All Creatures of Our God and King.”
Suggested Choral arrangements:
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org
|Instances (51)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools #6||O worship the King, all glorious above||O worship the King||Robert Grant||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104||Hanover||1992|
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #16||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104:1||LYONS||A Flat Major||1991|
|Baptist Hymnal 2008 #24||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||Johann Michael Haydn; Keith Christopher||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104:1||LYONS||G Major or modal||English||2008|
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #52||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||Joseph Martin Kraus; William Gardiner||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104||LYONS||A Flat Major||2010|
|Chalice Hymnal #17||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||Johann Michael Haydn; William Gardiner||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104||LYONS||G Major or modal||1995|
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #243||Oh, worship the King, all-glorious above||Oh, Worship the King||Robert Grant, 1779-1838||William Croft, 1678-1727||10.10.11.11||HANOVER||G Major||1993|
|Church Family Worship #351||O worship the King all glorious above||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||1988|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #34||O worship the King all glorious above||2000|
|Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #127||O worship the King, all glorious above||Robert Grant (1779-1838)||William Croft (1678-1727)||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104; 1 Chronicles 16:30; 1 Timothy 1:17; Daniel 7:9; Daniel 7:13; Daniel 7:22; Deuteronomy 31:6; Job 38; Psalm 18:2; Psalm 18:10-11; Psalm 40:5; Psalm 103:4; Psalm 104; Psalm 144:2; Psalm 148:5-6; Revelation 5:13||HANOVER||G Major or modal||English||2005|
|Common Praise (1998) #380||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant (1779-1838)||Alan Gray (1855-1935); William Croft (1678-1727); Harvey Grace (1874-1944)||10.10.11.11||Psalm 24; Psalm 29; Psalm 47; Psalm 65; Psalm 89:1-18; Psalm 104; Isaiah 61:10 - 62:5; Daniel 7:1-3; Daniel 7:9-10; Daniel 7:13-18; Revelation 19:11-16||HANOVER||G Major or modal||1998|
|Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #563||O worship the King all glorious above||O worship the King all glorious above||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #528||O worship the King all glorious above||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #842||Oh, worship the King, all-glorious above||Robert Grant, 1779-8138||William Croft, 1678-1727||10.10.11.11||HANOVER||G Major or Modal||English||2006|
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #41||O worship the King, all glorious above!||O Worship the King, All Glorious Above!||Robert Grant||Joseph Martin Kraus||10.10.11.11||Deuteronomy 31:6; Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5; 2 Samuel 22:11-22; 1 Chronicles 16:29; 1 Chronicles 29:11-13; Psalm 18:10-11; Psalm 21:13; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 47:6-7; Psalm 84:11; Psalm 91:4; Psalm 103:14; Psalm 104:1-28; Psalm 145:1-13; Daniel 7:9; Luke 1:78; John 4:23; 1 Timothy 6:15-16||LYONS||G Major or modal||English||2013|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #388||O worship the King, all glorious above||Robert Grant , 1779-1838||William Croft, 1678-1727||10.10.11.11||HANOVER||G Major or modal||English||1985|
|Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #101||O worship the King all glorious above||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||1983|
|Hymns for a Pilgrim People #38||O worship the King, all glorious above||LYONS||2007|
|Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #24||O worship the King all glorious above||R. Grant (1779-1838); W. Kethe (died 1594)||W. Croft (1678-1727); A. Gray (1855-1935)||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104||HANOVER||G Major or modal||1987|
|Hymns of Faith #60||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King, All Glorious Above||Robert H. Grant; William Kethe||Johann M. Haydn||Psalm 84:11; Psalm 103:14; Psalm 104; Daniel 7:9||[O worship the King, all glorious above]||G Major or modal||1980|
|Hymns of the Saints: Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints #27||O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing his power and his love||LYONS||1982|
|Hymns of the Saints: Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints #28||O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing his power and his love||HANOVER||1982|
|Hymns of Truth & Light #16||O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing God's power, truth and love||LYONS||1998|
|Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #393||O worship the King all glorious above||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||1996|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #2||O worship the King all-glorious above||O Worship the King (Psalm 104)||Robert Grant||Johann Michael Haydn||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104; Lamentations 3:23; Psalm 145:10; Psalm 104:7-10; Psalm 104:1-3; Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:13; Psalm 18:9-12; Daniel 7:9; Psalm 18:2||LYONS||G Major or modal||2013|
|Living Hymns #11||O worship the King, all-glorious above||O Worship the King||[O worship the King]||1988|
|Lutheran Service Book #804||O worship the King, all-glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant, 1779-1838||William Croft, 1678-1727||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104; Psalm 103:20-22; Isaiah 66:15; Luke 1:78||HANOVER||G Major or modal||English||2006|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #476||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King, All Glorious Above!||Robert Grant||Johann Michael Haydn||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104; Daniel 7:9||LYONS||G Major||English||1990|
|Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #104F||O worship the King, all-glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||Johann Michael Haydn||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104||LYONS||2012|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #428||O worship the King all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104; Psalm 18:2-15; Psalm 145:10||LYONS||G Major||English||1987|
|Rejoice Hymns #27||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant, 1779-1838||J. Michael Haydn, 1737-1838; Shelly Hamilton||10.10.11.11||Zechariah 14:16||LYONS||A flat||English||2011|
|Rejoice in the Lord #2||O worship the King||O Worship the King||Sir Robert Grant||John Wilson||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||Daniel 7:9; Daniel 7:22; Psalm 104:1-5; Psalm 104:10||HANOVER||G Major||English||1985|
|Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #83||O worship the King, all-glorious above||LYONS||1985|
|Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #90||O worship the King all glorious above||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||1999|
|Sing Joyfully #90||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King, All Glorious Above||Robert Grant||[O worship the King, all glorious above]||G Major||English||1989|
|The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Bicentennial Hymnal #4||O worship the King, all-glorious above||LYONS||1996|
|The Book of Hymns (A fresh anthology of favourite hymns) #17||O worship the King all glorious above||2006|
|The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #104||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant; David Guthrie||Johann M. Haydn; Don Marsh||10.10.11.11||LYONS||A Flat Major||English||1997|
|The Christian Life Hymnal #10||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Lyons||2006|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #23||O worship the King all glorious above||O Worship the King, All Glorious Above||Robert Grant, 1779-1838||Johann M. Haydn, 1737-1806; Herbert Colvin, 1928-||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104; Psalm 145||LYONS||G Major or modal||1996|
|The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #10||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||Herbert Colvin; Johann M. Haydn||10.10.11.11||LYONS||A Flat Major||English||1986|
|The New Century Hymnal #26||We worship you God, your power and your love||We Worship You, God||Robert Grant||J. Michael Haydn, 1737-1806)||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104:2-13||LYONS||G Major or modal||1995|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #73||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||William Gardiner; Johann Michael Haydn||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104||LYONS||G Major||English||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #223||[O worship the King, all glorious above]||Robert Grant||Johann Michael Haydn; Lois Fyfe||LYONS||G Major or modal||English||1991|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #224||[O worship the King, all glorious above]||Johann Michael Haydn; G. Winston Cassler||LYONS||G Major or modal||1991|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #225||[O worship the King, all glorious above]||Johann Michael Haydn; V. Earle Copes||LYONS||G Major or modal||1991|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #226||[O worship the King, all glorious above]||Johann Michael Haydn; V. Earle Copes||LYONS||G Major or modal||1991|
|The Worshiping Church #29||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||Johann M. Haydn, 18th C.||10.10.11.11||Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 104||LYONS||G Major||English||1990|
|Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #133||O worship the King all glorious above||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||1999|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #2||O Worship the King all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||Johann Michael Haydn, 1737-1806||10.10.11.11||Psalm 104; Psalm 145:10||LYONS||A Flat Major||English||1990|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #235||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant||William Croft||10.10.11.11||HANOVER||G Major or modal||1996|
|Worship and Rejoice #2||O worship the King, all glorious above||O Worship the King||Robert Grant, 1779-1838||Johann M. Haydn, 1737-1806||10.10.11.11||Psalm 144:2; Psalm 68:5; Lamentations 3:23; Psalm 3:3; Psalm 119:114; Psalm 33:21; Isaiah 50:10; Psalm 5:2; Psalm 115:9; Psalm 28:7; Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 7:10; Psalm 104; Psalm 18:2; Psalm 145:9; Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 84:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Psalm 10:18||LYONS||G Major or modal||2001|