Hymnary Friends,

Please pardon this brief interruption, and please consider a gift today to support the work of Hymnary.org. Here's why.

Each month half a million people visit this website for free access to the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet. But this project does not come without a cost, and we have limited sources of revenue. Twice a year we hold a fund drive, and these drives are critical to our future.

So if you benefit from Hymnary.org, would you consider a donation today? Even small amounts help, and they also let us know you're behind us and support what we do.

Click the Donate button below to be taken to a secure giving site. Or you can make your tax-deductible contribution by sending a check to Hymnary.org at 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

On behalf of the entire Hymnary.org team, our thanks.
Harry Plantinga


Composer: John Ireland

(no biographical information available about John Ireland.) Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer: John Ireland (1918)
Incipit: 35632 12345 36676
Key: D Major
Copyright: © 1924 Trustees of the John Ireland Charitable Trust


John Ireland (b. Bowdon, Cheshire, England, 1879; d. Rock Mill, Washington, Sussex, England, 1962) composed LOVE UNKNOWN in 1918 for the text "My song is love unknown"; the tune was first published in The Public School Hymn Book of 1919. A letter in the London Daily Telegraph of April 5, 1950, claims that Ireland wrote LOVE UNKNOWN within fifteen minutes on a scrap of paper upon receiving the request to compose it from Geoffrey Shaw, one of the editors of that 1919 hymnal. LOVE UNKNOWN has since appeared in many hymnals as a setting for a number of different texts. Trained at the Royal College of Music, Ireland served as organist at St. Luke's, Chelsea (1904-1926), and taught at the Royal College of Music from 1923 to 1939. He became known as one of the best composers and teachers of his era, but his personal life was often troubled. Although his piano works, chamber music, and smaller orchestral works remain popular, Ireland is mainly remembered for his song cycles of poetry by Shakespeare, Blake, Hardy, and other English poets. His songs often have carefully wrought accompaniments–as is certainly the case for LOVE UNKNOWN. Sing this fine tune in unison with firm legato organ support, or in harmony, possibly even unaccompanied on a stanza, if resources permit. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987


Instances (1 - 46 of 46)

A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools #31


Ancient and Modern #147


Ancient and Modern #321


Ancient and Modern #487

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #230

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #521

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #764


Christian Worship #110


Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #238


Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #399


Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #698


Common Praise (1998) #184

Common Praise #112

Common Praise #236b

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #209


Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #463


Evangelical Lutheran Worship #343

Evangelical Lutheran Worship #791

Text InfoTextAudio

Glory to God #209


Hymnal 1982 #458

Hymnal #235

Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #63

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #136

Hymns of the Saints #202

TextPage Scan

Hymns to the Living God #142


Lift Up Your Hearts #315


Lift Up Your Hearts #851


Lutheran Service Book #430


Lutheran Worship #91


Moravian Book of Worship #482


Presbyterian Hymnal #76

TextPage Scan

Presbyterian Hymnal #515

Text InfoTune InfoAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #220

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #284

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #188

Singing the Faith #277

Singing the New Testament #32


The New English Hymnal #86


Together in Song #341

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #143A

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #326


Voices United #143


Voices United #456


With One Voice #661


Worship (3rd ed.) #439

Worship (4th ed.) #490

Include 7 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us