Blest are the pure in heart

Hymn #418
Text: John Keble (1792-1866); W. J. Hall (1793-1861)
Music: Johann B, König (1691-1758)
Tune name: FRANCONIA



The son of an Anglican vicar, John Keble was a brilliant scholar who was instrumental in starting the Oxford Movement. His 1827 collection of religious verse, The Christian Year: Thoughts in Verse for the Sundays and Holidays throughout the Year, was one of the most popular collections of English poetry in the nineteenth century. The first and last stanza of this hymn are from a 17-stanza poem by Keble, based on the Beatitudes. The middle stanzas are the work of W. J. Hall, an Anglican priest and hymnal editor.

1. Blest are the pure in heart,
for they shall see our God;
the secret of the Lord is theirs,
their soul is Christ’s abode.

2. The Lord, who left the heav’ns
our life and peace to bring,
to dwell in lowliness with men,
their pattern and their King;

3. He to the lowly soul
doth still himself impart,
and for his dwelling and his throne
chooseth the pure in heart.

4. Lord, we thy presence seek;
may ours this blessing be;
give us a pure and lowly heart,
a temple meet for thee.



Johann König was a choirmaster an St. Catherine’s Church in Frankfurt, where he served under the great Baroque composer, Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767). His Harmonischer Liederschatz (1738) was one of the richest collections of chorales published in the eighteenth century. This tune is taken from that collection, although abbreviated somewhat.

Below is Andrew Remillard’s rendition of this hymn on piano (although a different hymn is displayed).