Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews

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General information

This is an hymn by Isaac Watts, Hymn 134 of Book 1 of his Hymns and Spiritual Songs, published 1709, entitled Religion vain without love, based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

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Text and translations

English.png English text

Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews,
And nobler speech than angels use,
If love be absent, I am found,
Like tinkling brass, an empty sound.

Were I inspired to preach and tell
All that is done in heaven and hell;
Or could my faith the world remove,
Still I am nothing without love.

Should I distribute all my store
To feed the bowels of the poor,
Or give my body to the flame,
To gain a martyr's glorious name;

If love to God and love to men
Be absent, all my hopes are vain;
Nor tongues, nor gifts, nor fiery zeal,
The work of love can e'er fulfill.

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