1 Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace,
over all victorious in its bright increase:
perfect, yet still flowing fuller every day;
perfect, yet still growing deeper all the way.
Trusting in the Father, hearts are fully blest,
finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest.
2 Hidden in the hollow of his mighty hand,
where no harm can follow, in his strength we stand.
We may trust him fully all for us to do;
those who trust him wholly find him wholly true. [Refrain]
Psalter Hymnal, 1987
|First Line:||Like a river glorious|
|Title:||Like a River Glorious|
|Author:||Frances Ridley Havergal|
|Meter:||126.96.36.199. D with refrain|
|Refrain First Line:||Stayed upon Jehovah|
|Liturgical Use:||Songs of Response|
st. 1 = Isa. 66:12
st. 2 = Ps. 37:24
Frances R. Havergal (PHH 288) wrote this text in 1874 in Leamington, England. First appearing in leaflet form, the text was published in a collection of her poems, Loyal Responses (1878), without music. The Psalter Hymnal version is notably altered from the original three stanzas.
Like “Trust and Obey” (548) and various psalms of trust, this text extols the blessing of trusting in God's care and keeping. Such trust produces serenity (st. 1), strength to face each day (st. 2), and "perfect peace and rest" (ref.).
As a hymn of trust for many occasions of worship; a sung benediction.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987
Frances Havergal wrote this hymn while she was living at Leamington, England, in 1874. It first appeared with its tune in the 1876 hymnal Hymns of Consecration and Faith under the title “Perfect Peace.” She later published it in her poetry collection, Loyal Responses, in 1878.
This hymn is typically sung in three stanzas. The first stanza uses the image of a river to depict “God's perfect peace.” The second stanza opens with an image of God as having hands, with Christians nestled in His palm.
James Mountain's tune WYE VALLEY was written for this text, and is the only tune to which it is sung. It was first published in his Hymns of Consecration and Faith in 1876. Named after a place in Kent, England, WYE VALLEY is a peaceful, simple tune. The frequent repetition of notes and phrases makes this an easy tune for congregations to sing, but the tempo should not rush, or the tranquility of the text and tune is lost.
This hymn is suitable for use as a closing hymn, or a song of response. The choir could sing it as a musical benediction, using a setting such as “Like a River Glorious,” which is accompanied by a motif that imitates the flowing of a river. For an instrumental postlude, the piano is an ideal instrument, either in a solo, as in the peaceful piano setting of WYE VALLEY in “Gospel Hymns We Love,” or in an accompanying role, as in the clarinet version in “Clarinet Stylings.”
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org