O Worship The King, All Glorious Above
Vivid imagery, poetic language, and elegant style make this a most unusual hymn. Here are majesty, beauty, wonder, and glory. Here are reverence, assurance, and joyful praise. Robert Grant wrote the hymn in 1833. It is based on Psalm 104.
Grant’s hymn comes into clearer focus if one reads Psalm 104 and compares the psalm with the hymn. The hymn reflects the spirit of the psalmist as he is caught up in the wonder and beauty of God’s magnificent creation. Seven names for God are found in the hymn - King, Shield, Defender, Ancient of Days, Maker, Redeemer, and Friend.
Of Scottish ancestry, Grant was born in Bengal, India, where his father was a director in the East India Company. While still a child he returned with his family to Scotland, was educated at Cambridge, and then was admitted to the bar. His election to Parliament began his career of distinction. Sent to India as governor of Bombay in 1834, Grant was knighted by King William IV before he left India. Grant wrote more than a dozen hymns, most of which have been forgotten. His name, however, will long remain in our hymnals because of the great expression of God’s praise that begins “O worship the King, all glorious above.”