Tender Psalm that lifts up the spirit
Englishman Isaac Watts composed “Bless, O My Soul, The Living God”, based on Psalm 103. The hymn is in common use both in the UK and US. The most frequently used arrangement in American hymnals is the one in Songs for the Sanctuary (1865) and in Laudes Domini (1884) and other US hymnals. In other hymnals both in the US and UK, some verses of the hymn are arranged a cento (Latin) or are arranged in poetic patchwork (e.g. in Bickersteth’s Christian Psalmody). Each verse consists of four lines, but the number of verses may sometimes vary between eight and nine in any of the 285 hymnals that carry “Bless, O My Soul, The Living God”.
The worshipful melody called “Park Street” (1810) was attached to “Bless, O My Soul, The Living God” by English composer Frederic Marc Antoine Venua. Venua composed the F Major with an 22.214.171.124. Meter tune. Venua was French-born, attended the Paris Conservatory of Music and studied composition in London. In London, Venua had a steady occupation as director and composer for the Ballet Orchestra of King’s Theater as well as the British Royal Society of Musicians.
Watts was a poet even during his childhood. He studied but left the Academy when he was 20 because he was challenged by his father to make the kind of music he thought was suitable for church service because Isaac thought merely singing the Psalms from the Bible was not giving worship justice. By laboring at home writing a bulk of his Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1707), Isaac Watts pioneered the hymns being sung at service beginning at Southampton Chapel. He was a prolific writer of hymns, theological, and philosophical books. Watts was honored by the University of Edinburgh with a Doctor of Divinity degree.