All hail the power of Jesus' name!

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem
and crown him Lord of all.

The first verse of this hymn appeared anonymously in The Gospel Magazine (November 1779) with the tune Shrubsole, now known as Miles Lane. The complete text of eight verses with the title "On the Resurrection, the Lord is King". was given in the same magazine (April 1780) and also in a volume of Occasional Verses, Moral and Sacred (1785). Edward Perronet (1726-92) was the son of an Anglican vicar. The family were Huguenot refugees who came from Switzerland in 1680. The Perronet family were closely associated with the Wesleys, Edward being a friend of John. Perronet offended Wesley by his hostility to the Anglican Church, and he joined the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, before changing his allegiance again to become the pastor of a small Independent chapel in Canterbury.

The eight verses which Perronet wrote have been called "The Coronation Hymn", the clear purpose being to affirm the kingship of Christ. Much of the imagery is drawn from the Book of Revelation (the morning stars and martyrs calling from the altar), and from the Lamentations of Jeremiah (the wormwood and the gall). John Rippon (1751-1836), a Baptist minister from London, in his A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors (1787) deleted verse two, changed the wording of the eighth, and added a new final verse. Today most hymn books have six verses (the English Hymnal has seven) but there are several differences in verses between books.

Tune - Miles Lane

William Shrubsole (1760-1806) is known for just one tune, composed when he was nineteen. A chorister of Canterbury Cathedral, he was subsequently organist of Bangor Cathedral but lost this post owing to his sympathies with Methodists and Dissenters. Ralph Vaughan Williams commented as follows: "Of course, Miles Lane owes something to the splendid words to which it is set... but it was left to Shrubsole to add the coping stone to the structure with the two-fold repetition of the words "Crown Him"."

Originally the first three lines were in three parts - alto, tenor and bass, with the tenor holding the melody. The repetitions in the last line were set for each voice in turn, beginning with the bass. The last three bars were in four parts. Originally written in C, the one and a half octave range to treble G is now made more approachable by a transposition to A, with an altered note at the end of line two (tenor A becoming alto C).

A year after the original anonymous publication, the tune appeared in A Collection of Psalm Tunes (1780) under the name Miles Lane, which is a corruption of "St Michael's Lane", the site of a London Dissenting meeting house.

Nigel Day


http://www.stpetersnottingham.org/hymns/power.htm
St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 1st August 1997