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Hymn Author

Francis Ridley HavergalI


TUNE: Baca

I gave My Life For thee

Born In Astley, Worcestershire (UK), Miss Havergal, was the youngest daughter of the hymn writer, Rev. William Henry Havergal. Continuously encouraged in hymn writing by her father, she went to Dusseldorf, Germany, at the tender age of 16, to study and stayed for two years. Upon returning she was baptized by John Cawood, a noted hymnist of the time, in Worcester Cathedral. Miss. Havergal proclaimed: “I committed my soul to the Saviour, and earth and heaven seemed brighter from that moment.”

The story of this hymn is best told by her sister.

In F. R. H’s MS. copy, she gives this title, “I did this for thee; what hast thou done for Me?” Motto placed under a picture of our Saviour in the study of a German divine. On January 10, 1858, she had come in weary, and sitting down she read the motto, and the lines of her hymn flashed upon her. She wrote them in pencil on a scrap of paper. Reading them over she thought them so poor that she tossed them on the fire, but they fell out untouched. Showing them some months later to her father, he encouraged her to preserve them, and wrote the tune Baca specially for them. The hymn was printed on a leaflet, 1859, and in Good Words, Feb., 1860. Pub. also in The Ministry of Song, 1869. Though F. R. H. consented to the alterations in Church Hymns, she thought the original more strictly carried out the idea of the motto, “I gave My life for thee, What hast thou done for Me?”


I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou might’st ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead,
I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?


I spent long years for thee
In weariness and woe,
That an eternity
Of Joy thou mightest know.
I spent long years for thee;
Hast thou spent one for me?


My Father’s home of light,
My rainbow- circled throne,
I left for earthly night,
For wanderings sad and lone;
I left, it all for thee,
Hast thou left aught for Me?


I suffered much for thee,
More than thy tongue may tell,
Of bitterest agony,
To rescue thee from hell.
I suffered much for thee;
What canst thou bear for Me?


And I have brought to thee,
Down from My home above,
Salvation full and free,
My pardon and My love;
Great gifts I brought to thee;
What hast thou brought to Me?


Oh, let thy life be given,
Thy years for Him be spent,
World fetters all be riven,
And joy with suffering blent;
I gave Myself for thee:
Give thou thyself to Me.