We add another hymn to my series, Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth — this week it’s “Love Lifted Me.” I really recall little more than the chorus, which was upbeat in tempo and would therefore stick a little better in a young mind. I do recall the last line of the verse having a kind of “up-and-down” set of notes that was a bit strange to sing. Or fun, whatever. (I’m also showing my acute lack of musical knowledge here.)
The hymn was composed in 1912 at Saugatuck, Connecticut by James Rowe (lyrics) and Howard Smith (music). Rowe (1865-1933) was the son of a copper miner, and worked for the Irish government for four years before emigrating and settling in Albany, New York at the age of 24. He worked in the railroads for ten years before becoming an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society. Eventually, he worked for music publishers in Texas and Tennessee and in his later years he relocated to Vermont where his daughter lived. She was an artist, and he worked writing verses for greeting cards. Rowe’s daughter recalled Smith “was a little man whose hands were so knotted with arthritis that you would wonder how he could use them at all, much less play the piano… I can see them now, my father striding up and down humming a bar or two and Howard E. playing it and jotting it down.”
Love Lifted Me
I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!
All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessèd presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.
Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.