1 I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true,
no, I was found of thee.
2 Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold,
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.
‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold
as thou, dear Lord, on me.
3 I find, I walk, I love, but, oh, the whole
of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee!
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul,
always thou lovedst me.
Source: Voices Together #161
|First Line:||I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew|
|Author:||Jean Ingelow (1878)|
|Source:||One Hundred Holy Songs, Carols and Sacred Ballads (London: Longmans, Green and Co.)|
|Liturgical Use:||Songs of Response|
st. 2 = Matt 14:22-23
st. 3 = 1 John 4:10,19, Jer. 31:3
Said by some scholars to have been written in 1878, this anonymous text was published in Holy Songs, Carols, and Sacred Ballads compiled by the Roberts brothers in Boston (1880). Austin Lovelace says of this text: "'He first loved us.' This simple yet profound thought is the basis for the hymn. God loved us long before we knew it. We seek God, but already God is holding out a hand waiting for us to take hold of it and be rescued from the seas of life" (Lovelace, Hymn Notes).
Stanza 2 alludes to the scene in which Christ saves Peter from drowning (see Matt. 14:22-33).
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Holy Songs, Carols, and Sacred Ballads published by Roberts Brothers in Boston is virtually similar to One Hundred Holy Songs, Carols and Sacred Ballads published by Longmans, Green & Co. in London in 1878. The British Library Catalogue, The Dictionary of British Women Writers (ed. Jane Todd, 1989) and Jean Ingelow, victorian Poetess (by Maureen Peters, 1972) all attribute the poem to Jean Ingelow.
From "I sought the author: a hymnological whodunnit" by Bernard Massey in Bulletin (Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland), Vol 17, Issue 1, No. 234, 2003, pp. 18-19
I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew. [He first loved us.] An anonymous and undated hymn in The Pilgrim Hymnal 1904.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)