O Worship The King

Anglican composer Robert Grant (1779-1838) was born and died in India—a country that by this time had long played a major role in the British Empire. He was a public servant distinguishing himself in law, serving as a member of Parliament, judge advocate general and governor of Bombay (now Mumbai). His father Charles was a leader in the evangelical wing of the Church of England and also played an active civic role with William Wilberforce in the emancipation of African slaves in the British Empire. Robert was born in India when his father went there to negotiate an end to barriers set up against missions by the British East India Company. The hymn was published posthumously in 1839 in Sacred Poems, a volume edited by Grant’s brother, Lord Glenelg. The hymn is based primarily on the rich imagery of Psalm 104:1-71.

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

O tell of his might and sing of his grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space;
his chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

The earth, with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, your power has founded of old;
established it fast, by a changeless decree,
and round it has cast, like a mantle, the sea.

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 distils in the dew and the rain.

We children of dust are feeble and frail –
in you do we trust, for you never fail;
your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end!
our maker, defender, redeemer, and friend.

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!


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