Scripture Verse

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1–3


Isaac Watts (1674–1748)

Words: Is­aac Watts, Hymns and Spi­ri­tu­al Songs, Book 1, 1707, num­ber 134. Re­li­gion vain with­out love.

Music: Bi­har Ly­man F. Brack­ett, in the Chris­tian Sci­ence Hym­nal (Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts: Chris­tian Sci­ence Pub­lish­ing So­ci­ety, 1909), num­ber 14 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

  • Hogarth in Wor­ship in the School Room, ed­it­ed by Will­iam T. Wy­lie (New York: Scher­mer­horn, Ban­croft, 1865), page 252 (🔊 pdf nwc)


Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews,
And nob­ler speech than an­gels use,
If love be ab­sent, I am found
Like tink­ling brass, an emp­ty sound.

Were I in­spired to preach and tell
All that is done in Heav’n and hell,
Or could my faith the world re­move,
Still I am no­thing with­out love.

Should I dis­trib­ute all my store
To feed the bow­els of the poor,
Or give my bo­dy to the flame,
To gain a mar­tyr’s glo­ri­ous name;

If love to God and love to men
Be ab­sent, all my hopes are vain:
Nor tongues, nor gifts, nor fie­ry zeal,
The work of love can e’er ful­fill.