THAT WILT NOT LET ME GO
George Matheson, 1882.
St. Margaret, Albert Lister Peace, 1884.
Matheson said about
My hymn was composed
in the manse of Innelan [Argyleshire, Scotland] on the evening of
the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in
the manse at that time. It was the night of my sisters marriage,
and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow.
Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and
which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was
the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work
I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated
to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself.
I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes,
and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching
or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other
verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this
came like a dayspring from on high.
O Love that wilt
not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O light that followest
all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshines blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest
me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest
up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust lifes glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
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