Behind the Hymn: My Song is Love Unknown

My Song is Love Unknown is a hymn by Samuel Crossman.

Crossman was a Puritan minister who opposed the Act of Uniformity 1662 and was exiled from the Church of England. He wrote the poem “My Song Is Love Unknown” in 1664.

It was not published until he rejoined the Church of England and published in The Young Man’s Meditation in 1684.

The last verse of the hymn was written as an imitation of George Herbert’s The Temple poem as a tribute by Crossman to Herbert.”

The most commonly used tune for “My Song Is Love Unknown” is called “Love Unknown”. It was written by John Ireland in 1925 and reportedly was composed in 15 minutes on the back of a menu.

 Ireland’s tune was credited with bringing the hymn out of obscurity which it had fallen into during Victorian times.

The song is often sung on Good Friday.

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