Hymn #12: I Sing the Mighty Power of God

            Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote this hymn for the first hymnal published exclusively for children, Divine Songs attempted in Easy Language for the use of Children (1715).  The hymn originally had eight stanzas.  Although Watts intended “to sink the language to the level of a child’s understanding,” this hymn has become beloved by all ages.

           Isaac Watts was born July 17, 1674, and studied at a Free School in Southampton, England.  He was not allowed to attend the regular university because the Church of England would not admit Dissenters, those who disagreed with the beliefs and practices of the established church.

           There are many different versions of the tune ELLACOMBE, and its composer is unknown.  The tune has been traced to German Roman Catholics in the eighteenth century and may have been used first in the chapel of the Duke of Wirtemberg, Germany.

           This tune is most commonly called ELLACOMBE, a place in Devonshire, England.  However, it is also known as AVE MARIA, KLÄRER UND LICHTER MORGENSTERN, the title of the original German song from which it derived.