Take a moment to listen to these words, and then I will tell you something surprising about them. The words are:
Let us, with a gladsome mind,
Praise the Lord, for he is kind;
For his mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
(NOTE: The “aye” in this case is pronounced with a long a—rhymes with “weigh.” It means “ever” and not “yes”—from George William Rutler, Brightest and Best)
The something surprising is this: These words were written by a fifteen year old schoolboy. That will seem less surprising if I tell you who the boy was. He was John Milton, who grew up to be a famous poet—author of the epic poem, “Paradise Lost.”
Milton based “Let us with a gladsome mind” on Psalm 136. He hadn’t intended to write a hymn, but his poem was set to music by a church organist, John Bernard Wilkes, long after Milton’s death, using a tune written originally by John Antes, a Moravian composer.
— Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan