Sunday, January 15, 2006

from "O perfect love" by Dorothy Gurney (1858-1932)

[Dorothy Gurney's account of the writing of "O perfect love":

It was Sunday ev­en­ing [at Pull Wyke, Win­der­mere, Eng­land] and we were en­joy­ing a time of hymn sing­ing. A song that was par­ti­cu­lar­ly en­joyed by all of us was "O Strength and Stay," the tune to which was a fav­o­rite of my sis­ter.

As we fin­ished sing­ing this hymn, some­one re­marked, ‘What a pi­ty the words of this beau­ti­ful song should be un­suit­a­ble for a wed­ding!’ My sis­ter turned to me and chal­lenged, ‘What is the use of a sis­ter who com­pos­es po­et­ry if she can­not write new words to a fa­vo­rite tune? I would like to use the tune at my wed­ding.’

I picked up a hymn­book and said, ‘If no one will dis­turb me, I will go into the lib­ra­ry and see what I can do.’ With­in 15 min­utes I was back with the group and read­ing the words I had jot­ted down. The writ­ing of the words was no ef­fort what­ev­er af­ter the in­i­tial idea came to me of the two­fold aspect of per­fect un­ion, love and life.

I feel that God helped me write this song.]

O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
Lowly we kneel in prayer before Thy throne,
That theirs may be the love which knows no ending,
Whom Thou forevermore dost join in one.

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.

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