Week 10: Trochaic Meters



Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

Text: Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847), 1834

Tune: John Goss (1800–1880), 1868

  1. Consider the way this hymn portrays the relationship between God and humans. What qualities are ascribed to God? What about us, his people? How does this help answer the question “why should we praise God?”.
    • The repeated phrase “Alleluia, alleluia!” was actually “Praise him, praise him!” in its original version
    • We praise God because of his:
      • Steadfastness (“praise him, still the same as ever”, “glorious in his faithfulness”)
      • Mercy (“slow to chide”, “spares us”)
      • Help to those in need (“grace and favor / to his people”)
      • Sustaining guidance (“tends … us / gently bears us”)
      • Kingship over all creation (“sun and moon, bow down before him”)
    • We praise God because of (and in spite of) our:
      • Inferiority and insufficiency (“to his feet your tribute bring”, “our feeble frame he knows”)
      • Overwhelming circumstances (“his people in distress”, “rescues us from all our foes”)
      • Spiritual blindness ("[angels] behold him face to face", but we don’t)
    • In addition, we are:
      • Ransomed; in bondage to sin, unable to pay our own release
      • Healed; both literally and figuratively (sick with the effects of sin in our life)
      • Restored; only through Christ are we made whole and able to reach the full potential God has for us
      • Forgiven; a personal gift given by God for each one of us, as all sin is ultimately an affront to Him

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Text: Charles Wesley (1707–1788), 1739

Tune: Anonymous, 1708

  1. “Christ the Lord” is also a hymn of praise, but with a particular focus on Easter. In what ways is the text similar to “Praise My Soul”, and in what ways is it different?
    • Since Easter is the central part of the Christian story, it is the central reason for praising God
      • The medieval church did not allow singing of “alleluias” between the Saturday before Septuagesima (the third Sunday before Lent) and Easter, making the Easter praises even greater in comparison
    • Both hymns recognize Christ’s role in salvation (“he died our souls to save”)
      • But while “Praise My Soul” tends to focus on our negative sin-filled past, “Christ the Lord” focuses on our positive life-filled future
      • In fact, it looks forward to our own resurrections (“made like him, like him we rise”)
      • Wesley casts us as living proof of God’s power (“thee to know, thy power to prove”) and our love and songs flow out of it


  1. Read the hymn “Lord, You Lead to Fields of Green”. List places that you think work well, and places that need improvement. What changes would you suggest? Consider the following areas:
    • Meter and rhyme
    • Word choice and imagery
    • Scripture references
    • Flow of ideas