Words: , Heilige Seelenlust, 1657 (Ich will dich lie­ben, meine Stärke); trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by , Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems, 1739.

Music: Ad­mah, , Car­mina Sac­ra (Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts: J. H. Wil­kins & R. B. Car­ter, 1844), p. 42. Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Cheshunt Coll­ege, (1838-1896)
  • Silesius, (1850-1929)

The Rev. Will­iam Ar­thur gives a de­scrip­tion of Gi­de­on Ou­se­ley, the great Ir­ish evan­gel­ist, which, he says, pre­sents him ex­act­ly as he had oft­en heard him spok­en of by those in whose house Ou­se­ley stayed. It is from the pen of the Rev. John Hughes. When he was a boy at home, he says, ‘On a raw No­vem­ber ev­en­ing Ou­se­ley preached at the cor­ner of the street in which we re­sid­ed at Port­ar­ling­ton. After preach­ing, he came in­to our house for some re­fresh­ment, and to wait un­til his time came again to preach in the cha­pel. When he took a seat in the lit­tle back apart­ment it was dusk. A turf fire played fit­ful­ly, and there was no other light. I crouched in an ob­scure cor­ner, and Ou­se­ley thought him­self alone. He took off his cloak and hat, ejac­u­lat­ed “My bless­ed Master!” and wiped the per­spir­a­tion from his head and face. He then poked the fire, and spread him­self out be­fore it. After mus­ing a min­ute, he wept. Tear after tear rolled down his rugg­ed cheeks. He re­peat­ed, in a low but dis­tinct voice, the first two vers­es of the hymn, “Thee will I love, my strength, my tow­er.” Af­ter re­peat­ing the line, “Ah, why did I so late Thee know,” he smote his fore­head with his big hand, and fin­ished the verse.’

Thee will I love, my Strength, my Tower,
Thee will I love, my Joy, my Crown,
Thee will I love with all my power,
In all Thy works, and Thee alone;
Thee will I love, till the pure fire
Fill my whole soul with chaste desire.

Ah, why did I so late Thee know,
Thee, lovelier than the sons of men!
Ah, why did I no sooner go
To Thee, the only ease in pain!
Ashamed, I sigh, and inly mourn,
That I so late to Thee did turn.

In darkness willingly I strayed,
I sought Thee, yet from Thee I roved;
Far wide my wandering thoughts were spread,
Thy creatures more than Thee I loved;
And now if more at length I see,
’Tis through Thy light and comes from Thee.

I thank Thee, uncreated Sun,
That Thy bright beams on me have shined;
I thank Thee, who hast overthrown
My foes, and healed my wounded mind;
I thank Thee, whose enlivening voice
Bids my freed heart in Thee rejoice.

Uphold me in the doubtful race,
Nor suffer me again to stray;
Strengthen my feet with steady pace
Still to press forward in Thy way;
My soul and flesh, O Lord of might,
Fill, satiate, with Thy heavenly light.

Give to mine eyes refreshing tears,
Give to my heart chaste, hallowed fires,
Give to my soul, with filial fears,
The love that all Heaven’s host inspires;
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

Thee will I love, my joy, my crown,
Thee will I love, my Lord, my God;
Thee will I love, beneath Thy frown,
Or smile, Thy scepter, or Thy rod;
What though my flesh and heart decay?
Thee shall I love in endless day!