My Song Is Love Unknown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
My Song Is Love Unknown
Genre Hymn
Written 1664
Text Samuel Crossman
Melody "Love Unknown" by John Ireland

My Song Is Love Unknown is a hymn by Samuel Crossman, written in 1664.

The hymn tune to which it is usually sung is called Love Unknown by John Ireland (1879-1962). Ireland composed the melody over lunch one day at the suggestion of organist and fellow-composer Geoffrey Shaw.[1]


My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed-for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend,
My Friend indeed,
Who at my need
His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!”
is all their breath,
And for His death
they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries!
Yet they at these
Themselves displease,
and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they save,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He
to suffering goes,
That He His foes
from thence might free.

In life no house, no home,
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb,
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say?
Heav'n was his home;
But mine the tomb
Wherein he lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend,
in Whose sweet praise
I all my days
could gladly spend.

Other versions[edit]

  • British rock band Coldplay has a song entitled "A Message", released on the album X&Y, the lyrics and melody of which were inspired by this hymn.[2]
  • Singer-songwriter Robin Mark recorded an updated version of this song, using John Ireland's setting and Crossman's first verse, with two added by Mark, on the album Revival in Belfast 2.
  • American composer Edwin T. Childs set this hymn to a new tune, "Gunnar", in 1999 as an antiphonal piece for 4 part choir and congregation.[3] It is included in the hymn book Break Forth in Joyous Song.
  • Singer Joanne Hogg of the Celtic Christian alternative rock group Iona set this hymn to a new tune and released it on her solo album Looking Into Light in 1999.
  • Francis Pott, an English composer, set this hymn in 2002 for the Southern Cathedrals Festival as a 17'30" choral piece, performed by Tenebrae, with Jeremy Filsell at the organ.
  • Singer-songwriter Fernando Ortega recorded a version of this song using six of Crossman's verses with some of the phrases modernized, on his album Night of Your Return.
  • Trinity Hymnal, Revised Edition Hymn 182, Great Commission Publications, composer John Baptiste Calkin (1827–1905). The melody is known as St. John.
  • Quarry Street Hymnal recorded a version of this hymn on the November 2012 album Quarry Street Hymnal, Vol. 1 changing the pronouns from third to first person.[4]
  • Paul Stanhope, a leading contemporary Australian composer, was inspired by elements of Samuel Crossman's text and used fragments of John Ireland's hymn in composing his Piccolo Concerto (2013).


  1. ^ "Word from Wormingford". Church Times. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  2. ^ "".
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]