Praise, my soul
gained international fame when it was broadcast by the BBC to 200 million people across the globe at the wedding of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. What most of the listeners would not have known is that the writer of the hymn, Henry Francis Lyte had been memorialized in the Abbey just four days earlier. Born in Roxburghshire and educated as a University Scholar at Trinity College, Dublin, Lyte quickly gained a reputation as an educationalist and a writer of religious verse. Sometime after 1817 he had an intense spiritual experience at the deathbed of a neighbouring priest, which altered his whole outlook on life and deepened his faith. He published Poems (Chiefly Religious)
in 1833, and in 1834 Spirit of the Psalms
which contained Praise, my soul
. John Goss, who composed the tune, is chiefly remembered as a composition pupil of Thomas Attwood and a great organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, where he too is memorialized. However, he came to London as a young boy, in the care of his uncle, who was an alto Lay Vicar at Westminster Abbey.
from notes by The Revd Dr James Hawkey © 2014