Although eclipsed by his brother Charles, when it came to hymn writing, John Wesley produced some outstanding translations of foreign hymns . This hymn is one of his finest. Translated from the German Hymn writer, Scheffler who seems to be quoting from Augustine’s confessions. For example:Too late did I love Thee, O fairness, so ancient ,and yet so new! Too late did I love Thee! etc.
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 my works, and Thee alone!
Thee will I love till Thy 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,
For 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 press forward in Thy way;
My soul and flesh, O Lord of Might,
Fill, satiate with Thy heavenly light.
Give to my 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 sceptre or Thy rod.
What though my flesh and heart decay?
Thee shall I love in endless day!