Tell Out, My Soul

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord

Author: Timothy Dudley-Smith (1961)
Tune: WOODLANDS (Greatorex)
Published in 60 hymnals

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Source: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #364

Author: Timothy Dudley-Smith

Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926) Educated at Pembroke College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge, Dudley-Smith has served the Church of England since his ordination in 1950. He has occupied a number of church posi­tions, including parish priest in the diocese of Southwark (1953-1962), archdeacon of Norwich (1973-1981), and bishop of Thetford, Norfolk, from 1981 until his retirement in 1992. He also edited a Christian magazine, Crusade, which was founded after Billy Graham's 1955 London crusade. Dudley-Smith began writing comic verse while a student at Cambridge; he did not begin to write hymns until the 1960s. Many of his several hundred hymn texts have been collected in Lift Every Heart: Collected Hymns 1961-1983 (1984), Songs of Deliverance: Thirt… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
Title: Tell Out, My Soul
Author: Timothy Dudley-Smith (1961)
Copyright: © 1962, renewal 1990 Hope Publishing Co.


Scripture References:
all st. = Luke 1:46-55

One of the first hymn texts written by Timothy Dudley-Smith (PHH 233), this free paraphrase of the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55 is his best known. It was first published in the Anglican Hymn Book (1965). Dudley-Smith writes of this text:

I did not think of myself . . . as having in any way the gifts of a hymn-writer when in May 1961 I jotted down a set of verses, beginning "Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord." I was reading a review copy of the New English Bible New Testament, in which that line appears exactly as I have put it above; I saw in it the first line of a poem, and speedily wrote the rest (Dudley-Smith 1984).

The text calls us to proclaim the greatness "of the Lord" (st. 1), "of his name" (st. 2), "of his might" (st. 3), and "of his word" (st. 4). The text's strong language captures the spirit of Mary's exuberant song of praise to God. The powerful text contrasts with the humble meditative setting of the Song of Mary at 212. A third, partial setting of Mary's Song is found at 622–sung to a Taize round.

Liturgical Use:
Advent; Christmas; other services in which a jubilant setting of the Song of Mary is appropriate; Mary's Song is traditionally appointed for vespers; see additional comments at PHH 212.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988


WOODLANDS (Greatorex)

WOODLANDS is a perfect match for the bold text. Walter Greatorex (b. Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, 1877; d. Bournemouth, Hampshire, England, 1949) composed this tune in 1916, and it was published in the Public School Hymn Book in 1919. The tune's title refers to one of the schoolhouses at Gre…

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Include 8 pre-1979 instances
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