Though perfect eloquence adorned
my sweet persuading tongue,
Though I could speak in higher strains
than ever angel sung;
Though prophecy my soul inspired,
and made all myst’ries plain:
Yet, were I void of Christian love,
these gifts were all in vain.
Nay, though my faith with boundless pow’r
ev’n mountains could remove
I still am nothing, if I’m void
of charity and love.
Although with lib’ral hand I gave
my goods the poor to feed,
Nay, gave my body to the flames,
still fruitless were the deed.
Love suffers long; love envies not;
but love is ever kind;
She never boasteth of herself,
nor proudly lifts the mind.
Love harbours no suspicious thought,
is patient to the bad;
Grieved when she hears of sins and crimes,
and in the truth is glad.
Love no unseemly carriage shows,
nor selfishly confined;
She glows with social tenderness,
and feels for all mankind.
Love beareth much, much she believes,
and still she hopes the best;
Love meekly suffers many a wrong,
though sore with hardship pressed.
Love still shall hold an endless reign
in earth and heav’n above,
When tongues shall cease, and prophets fail,
and ev’ry gift but love.
Here all our gifts imperfect are;
but better days draw nigh,
When perfect light shall pour its rays,
and all those shadows fly.
Like children here we speak and think,
amused with childish toys;
But when our pow’rs their manhood reach,
we’ll scorn our present joys.
Now dark and dim, as through a glass,
are God and truth beheld;
Then shall we see as face to face,
and God shall be unvailed.
Faith, Hope, and Love, now dwell on earth,
and earth by them is blest;
But Faith and Hope must yield to Love,
of all the graces best.
Hope shall to full fruition rise,
and Faith be sight above:
These are the means, but this the end;
for saints for ever love.
Though all men's eloquence adorned. T. Randall. [Love.] First appeared as No. 11 in the Draft Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1745, as a version of 1 Cor. xiii., in 14 stanzas of 4 lines. In the Draft of 1781, No. 49, slightly altered, and beginning "Though perfect eloquence adorn'd." Thence with stanza iv. and stanza iii. 1, 2, rewritten in the public worship edition issued in that year by the Church of Scotland and still in use. In the markings by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron, the original is ascribed to T. Randall, and the alterations in 1781 to W. Cameron. In the English Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns, 1867, the text of 1781 was included as Nos. 281-283, No. 282 beginning "Love suffers long, love envies not" (stanza v.), and No. 283 beginning with stanza x., "Here all our gifts imperfect are." It is also found in the following forms:—
1. Though every grace my speech adorn'd, beginning with stanzas i. altered in the Springfield Collection, 1835, No. 247 (American).
2. Love still shall hold an endless reign, stanzas ix., x., xii.-xiv. in Morison's Hymns, 1860, No. 161.
3. 'Tis Love shall hold an endless reign, stanzas ix., x., xiii., xiv. in Twickenham Chapel Collection, 1845, p. 64.
4. Faith, hope, and love, now dwell on earth, stanzas xiii., xiv. in Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 104, and in America in Adams & Chapin's Collection, 1846, No. 387. (Compare Watts's Hymns, Bk. i., Nos. 133, 134.) [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)