Music for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost — September 19, 2021

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven – Text: Ps. 103; para. Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) / Music: John Goss (1800-1880)

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This hymn is a free paraphrase of Psalm 103, written by Henry Francis Lyte, in five stanzas of six lines, for his congregation at Lower Brixham, and published first in his Spirit of the Psalms 1834. The hymn has become very popular ever since it was used at the marriage of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1923.

The tune, Praise, My Soul, was composed for these words by John Goss. It was printed in two forms: first, in D major for voices in unison to a varying organ accompaniment for each stanza; and second, in E major for four voices. Common Praise (381) and The New English Hymnal (436), like most hymnals, provide settings that combine parts from both forms. Goss held three organ positions during his career, culminating with St Paul’s Cathedral from 1838 to 1872. A prolific writer, he produced textbooks for the study of music, edited hymn books, and wrote over fifty anthems and service settings. He was knighted on his retirement from St Paul’s in 1872.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
to his feet your tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
evermore his praises sing:
Alleluia, alleluia,
praise the everlasting King.

Praise him for his grace and favour
to our forebears in distress;
praise him still the same forever,
slow to chide and swift to bless;
alleluia, alleluia,
glorious in his faithfulness.

Father-like he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows;
in his hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes:
alleluia, alleluia,
widely as his mercy flows.

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish;
blows the wind and it is gone;
but, while mortals rise and perish,
God endures unchanging on:
alleluia, alleluia,
praise the high eternal one.

Angels, help us to adore him;
you behold him face to face;
sun and moon, bow down before him,
dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia, alleluia,
praise with us the God of grace.

Gerald Harder