Text: Ancient Greek hymn
Translator: John Brownlie (1859-1925)
Music: Johann Crüger (1598-1662)
Tune name: LUISE
This text was first published in 1907 in Hymns from the East, being Centos and Suggestions from the Service Books of the Holy Eastern Church. The volume was one of many books of hymn translations edited by John Brownlie, a Scots educator and Free Church minister. Sadly, the source for this hymn is not cited in Brownlie’s book.
1. Let thy blood in mercy poured,
let thy gracious body broken,
be to me, O gracious Lord,
of thy boundless love the token.
Thou didst give thyself for me,
now I give myself to thee.
2. Thou didst die that I might live;
blessed Lord, thou cam’st to save me;
all that love of God could give
Jesus by his sorrows gave me. [Refrain]
3. By the thorns that crowned thy brow,
by the spear wound and the nailing,
by the pain and death, I now
claim, O Christ, thy love unfailing. [Refrain]
4. Wilt thou own the gift I bring?
All my penitence I give thee;
thou art my exalted King,
of thy matchless love forgive me. [Refrain]
This tune is credited to the great Lutheran composer Johann Crüger, who composed — in addition to many chorales — a number of concertos and motets, as well as several works of music theory. This tune’s name was historically JESUS, MEINE ZUVERSICHT, which were the opening words of a text traditionally tied to this tune (in English, “Jesus, my sure defense”). The text was by Countess Luise Henrietta (1627-1667), Electress of Brandenburg and granddaughter of William I, Prince of Orange.
In 1918, when the Episcopal Hymnal was being revised, its editor was Charles Winfield Douglas. Because of the bitter prejudice at the time toward all things German, Fr. Douglas was in the habit of assigning new non-German tune names. So JESUS, MEINE ZUVERSICHT became LUISE, in honor of the Countess. (German Shepherds were re-christened Alsatians for similar reasons).
The melody is in a simple AAB form, the first and second lines being identical. The third line (a refrain repeated in all four stanzas) begins in a minor key before resolving back to the original major key.
Below is Andrew Remillard’s rendition of this hymn on piano.