O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Representative Text

1 O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee.
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.

2 O Light that follows all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee.
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.

3 O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee.
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

4 O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee.
I lay in dust, life’s glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms red,
life that shall endless be.

Source: Voices Together #608

Author: George Matheson

Matheson, George, D.D., was born at Glasgow, March 27, 1842, and although deprived of his eyesight in youth he passed a brilliant course at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated M.A. in 1862. In 1868 he became the parish minister at Innellan; and subsequently of St. Bernard's, Edinburgh. He was the Baird Lecturer in 1881, and St. Giles Lecturer in 1882. He has published several important prose works. His poetical pieces were collected and published in 1890 as Sacred Songs, Edinburgh: W. Blackwood. In addition to his hymn "O Love that wilt not let me go" (q. v.), four others from his Sacred Songs are in Dr. A. C. Murphey's Book of Common Song, Belfast, 1890. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O Love that wilt not let me go
Title: O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
Author: George Matheson (1882)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


O Love that wilt not let me go. G. Matheson. [Jesus All and in All.] Dr. Matheson says this hymn was "written in the Manse of my former parish (Innellan, Argyleshire) one summer evening in 1882. It was composed with extreme rapidity; it seemed to me that its construction occupied only a few minutes, and I felt myself rather in the position of one who was being dictated to than of an original artist I was suffering from extreme mental distress, and the hymn was the fruit of pain." [L. MSS.] This hymn first appeared in the Church of Scotland magazine, Life and Work, in 1883 [sic 1882]. From thence it passed into the Scottish Hymnal 1884; and there set to special music by Dr. A. L. Peace. It is a beautiful and tender hymn and worthy of extensive use.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)



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