Teach me, my God and King

Full Text

1 Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see;
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

2 A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or, if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.

3 All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean
which, with this tincture, For thy sake,
will not grow bright and clean.

4 A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine;
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.

5 This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #790

Author: George Herbert

Herbert, George, M.A., the fifth son of Richard Herbert and Magdalen, the daughter of Sir Richard Newport, was born at his father's seat, Montgomery Castle, April 3, 1593. He was educated at Westminster School, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1611. On March 15, 1615, he became Major Fellow of the College, M.A. the same year, and in 1619 Orator for the University. Favoured by James I., intimate with Lord Bacon, Bishop Andrewes, and other men of influence, and encouraged in other ways, his hopes of Court preferment were somewhat bright until they were dispelled by the deaths of the Duke of Richmond, the Marquis of Hamilton, and then of King James himself. Retiring into Kent, he formed the resolution of taking Holy Orders… Go to person page >


Teach me, my God and King. G. Herbert. [Duty.] This hymn is found in modern hymnbooks in two forms, the first as written by Herbert, and the second as altered by J. Wesley. Herbert's text was printed in his Temple, 1633, p. 178, under the title "The Elixir"; and J. Wesley's in his Collection of Psalms & Hymns, 1738.
In modern hymnbooks, as in Mercer and others, J. Wesley's text, with the omission of the last stanza, is usually followed. We must note that in Herbert's text the line (a) reads in the 7th ed. "Which with this tincture for Thy sake," and that in later editions of J. Wesley's Collection of Psalms & Hymns the following changes are also made :—
(b) "Nothing so small can be."
(c) "Hallow'd is toil, if this the cause."
(d) "The elixir this the stone."
This rugged, but beautiful hymn is we! adapted in its original form for private use.

-- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #6541
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 14 of 14)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #790Text
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #601
Common Praise (1998) #496Page Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #583Page Scan
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #642
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #592Text
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #240
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #803
Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #690
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #466
Singing the Faith #668
Small Church Music #602Audio
The Cyber Hymnal #6541TextScoreAudio
The New English Hymnal #456
Include 215 pre-1979 instances