Thursday, November 1, 2007

"I Sing A Song"

When I was a girl, it was a societal rule that one didn't talk about religion or politics. And though times have changed, I still pretty much live by this principle. I rarely mention either one on my blog, or in my "real" life. I believe what I believe and let others do the same. But on this All Saints' Day, I want to share a hymn that I love. I am, as they say, a cradle Episcopalian, and I grew up singing this hymn. Even if one isn't religious, I think you can appreciate the words as a beautiful British poem.

I sing a song of the saints of God,
Patient and brave and true,
Who toiled and fought and lived and died
For the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
And one was a shepherdess on the green:
They were all of them saints of God - and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.

They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
And his love made them strong;
And they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake,
The whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
And one was slain by a fierce wild beast:
And there’s not any reason - no, not the least,
Why I shouldn’t be one too.

They lived not only in ages past,
There are hundreds of thousands still,
The world is bright with the joyous saints
Who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
In church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea,
For the saints of God are just folk like me,
And I mean to be one too.

Lesbia Lesley Locket was born in Willesden, England in 1898. She married John Mortimer Scott, a naval officer, who later became an Anglican priest and served a parish near Dartmoor. Active in amateur theatre and religious drama, Mrs Scott did considerable writing, especially of religious drama. She died in 1986 at Pershore, England. "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God," was not written for publication. The author wrote the hymn, as she herself says: "for use in our nursery, as an expression of the Faith my husband and I were trying to give our children. Most of the hymns I wrote were in response to the children’s demands. ‘Make a hymn for a picnic!’ or ‘Make a hymn for a foggy day!’ ‘I Sing a Song' was written for us to sing on Saints’ Days, to impress on them the fact that sainthood is a living possibility today."


  1. I became a convert from growing up in the Baptist faith to Episcopalian so we have that in common too.

    ~~ Heidi ~~

  2. Oh! This hymn brings back so, so many memories of my childhood as an Episcopalian priest's daughter. I remember singing this as a very young child in the congregation and later in the children's choir. I absolutely adore this hymn. And how neat that her middle name is the same (and same spelling) as my first!

    Thank you, Nan. You made my day.

  3. Hi Nan...

    Lovely peom....thank you so very much for sharing.



  4. This was my favorite hymn when I was a girl. I'm another cradle Episcopalian . . .


  5. I so love your blog Nan, I look forward to the readings and this is especially beautiful - I cried .. I believe in a higher something, not sure what, it is probably more spiritual, believing in the goodness of the human spirit, feeling tied somehow to kindred spirits - thank you for the spirit that shines in you .

  6. I waited way too long to thank you all for your comments on this entry, but if you stop back, I want you to know how much they all meant. And we got to sing it in church on the next Sunday. The minister had her eyes closed and remarked afterwards that we may have noticed she didn't need the hymn book. I saw another woman with tears in her eyes. I had a smile on my face the whole song. It is so full of wonder, nostalgia, and hope for me.

  7. I found I could sing the entire first verse without once looking at the words. Not bad for a cradle Episcopalian who hasn't been to church in many, many years.

  8. Les, the minister joked that she has a little trouble with that last verse, with which comes where, lanes or tea or shops? :<)

  9. I pretty much have no recollection of that last verse, but I do remember portions of the second.


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