What Wondrous Love

The text of this folk hymn was first published in 1811 in a Methodist camp-meeting songbook, 'A General Selection of the Newest and Most Admired Hymns and Spiritual Songs Now in Use' - making it one of the category of hymns that some people call "white spirituals".

Most early publications say that the text was anonymous author, though the The Hesperian Harp hymnbook (1848) attributes it to Methodist pastor Alexander Means, from Oxford, Georgia.

It is widely agreed that the tune now known as WONDROUS LOVE has at least some links to the 1701 English tune used for "The Ballad of Captain Kidd" - although the melody is older than this, and has been used for many other folk-songs also.

The text and tune were first published together in three-part harmony in the shape-note hymnal, "The Southern Harmony" - although it's not clear which edition this was in (options include 1835, 1840, and 1843). This was arranged by James Christopher of Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The hymn meter is 6.6.6.3.6.6.6.6.6.3 - or 12.9.12.9.12.9, depending on your perspective.

There are various versions of the lyrics in use - eg in verse 1 "to bear the dreadful curse" instead of "to send the precious peace"


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On-line examples



Lyrics:

What wondrous love is this,
O my soul! O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this,
That caused the Lord of bliss,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down,
Sinking down, sinking down;
When I was sinking down, sinking down
When I was sinking down,
Beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown
For my soul, for my soul!
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul!

Ye winged seraphs fly,
Bear the news, bear the news!
Ye winged seraphs flym bear the news!
Ye winged seraphs fly, like comets through the sky,
Fill vast eternity with the news, with the news!
Fill vast eternity with the news!

Ye friends of Zion's king,
Join his praise, join his praise;
Ye friends of Zion's king, join his praise;
Ye friends of Zion's king, with hearts and voices sing,
And strike each tuneful string
In his praise, in his praise!
And strike each tuneful string in his praise!

To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing!
While millions join the theme, I will sing!

And while from death I'm free,
I'll sing on, I'll sing on,
And while from death I'm free, I'll sing on.
And while from death I'm free,
I'll sing and joyful be,
And through eternity
I'll sing on, I'll sing on,
And through eternity I'll sing on.


ABC Notation:

Ref:  What is ABC

X:1
T:What Wondrous Love
B:William Walker's Southern Harmony 1885
C:Unknown
Z:abc-transcription www.GodSongs.net ,
M:4/4
L:1/4
K:Bm
"Em"E2|"Bm"ED"F#m"FA|"G"B2"A"A"D"F|"Em"E2E"Bm"D|"F#m"F2"G"B2 |
w:What won-drous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul, what
"D"dc"G"BA|"Bm"B2"A"A"D"F|"Em"E4-| E2"D"A2|
w:won-drous love is this, oh my soul._ What
"G"B"A"A"Bm"Bd| "Em"e2"A"e2|"Bm"dB"A"(B/2A/2)"D"F|"Em"E2"A"E2|
w:won-drous love is this that caused the Lord_ of bliss to
"Em"E"Bm"D"F#m"FA|"Bm"B2"D"AF| "Em"E2E"Bm"D|"F#m"F2"G"B2|
w:bear the dread-ful curse for my soul for my soul, to
"Bm"dc"F#m"BA|"Bm"B2"A"A"D"F|"Bm"E2-"A"E2-|"Bm"E2z2|]
w:bear the dread-ful curse for my soul._

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