O could I speak the matchless worth (James Leach)

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  • (Posted 2007-01-21)  CPDL #13458:     
Editor: Tim Henderson (submitted 2007-01-21).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 379 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Tune and harmony taken from Dr. Rippon's Tunebook (13th edition)

General Information

Title: O could I speak the matchless worth
Composer: James Leach
Tune: Leach or St. John
Lyricist: Samuel Medley

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredHymn   Meter: 886. 8866

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1794
Description: "A Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes from the best authors in three and four parts adapted principally to Dr Watts's Hymns and Psalms and to Dr. Rippon's Selection of Hymns containing in a greater variety than any other volume extant the most approved compositions which are used in London and throughout England; Also many original tunes never before printed, the whole forming a publication of above three hundred tunes, odes etc by John Rippon DD."

In the tune book it is set to "Come Lord and help us to rejoice". Here I have used Medley's "O could I speak the matchless worth" (used for this tune in The Philadelphia Third Presbyterian Church Collection of Sacred Music, according to the Hymn Tune Index).

The tune is a form of a tune "St. John", which was published in one of James Leach's own collections, A Second Sett of Hymns and Psalm Tunes (London: [1789-1798]) with the text O love divine, how sweet thou art.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Oh could I speak the matchless worth,
Oh could I sound the glories forth,
Which in my Saviour shine!
I’d soar, and touch the heavenly strings
And vie with Gabriel while he sings
In notes almost divine.

I’d sing the characters He bears,
And all the forms of love He wears,
exalted on His throne;
In loftiest songs of sweetest praise,
I would to everlasting days
Make all His glories known.

Soon, the delightful day will come
When my dear Lord will bring me home,
and I shall see His face;
Then with my Savior, Brother, Friend,
a blessèd eternity I’ll spend,
Triumphant in His grace.