Dyma gariad fel y moroedd
Here is love, vast as the ocean
JESUS ONLY (DIM OND JESU)
What tho’ the clouds are hov’ring o’er me
Text. The text of this hymn was originally in Welsh, “Dyma gariad fel y moroedd,” written by William Rees (1802–1883, also known as Gwilym Hiraethog), first published in an addendum to a collection of hymns by William Williams (1717–1791), Y per ganiedydd: sef detholiad o hymnau W. Williams (Liverpool : G.W. Jones, ca. 1847 | Fig. 1), edited by Rees. It was subsequently included in Rees’ own collection, Caniadau Hiraethog (Dinbych: Thomas Gee, 1855 | Fig. 2), titled “Cariad Crist” (“Love of Christ”), also in two stanzas, without music. By one account, Rees was “one of the most versatile and gifted Welshmen of the nineteenth century and exercised a powerful influence on politics, religion, poetry, and literature in Wales.”
Some printings of this hymn in Welsh include an extra stanza, “O ddyfnderoedd o ddoethineb!” which is by William Williams, taken from his hymn “Nid oes angel, nid oes seraph.” Williams’ hymn was included in his collection Haleluia Drachefn (ca. 1790).
Text: Translation. This hymn entered English hymnody through The Baptist Book of Praise (Wales: Baptist Book of Praise Committee, 1900 | Fig. 3), translated by William Edwards (1848–1929) as “Here is love, vast as the ocean.” In this collection, it was set to the tune CARIAD by W.T. Samuel, probably written for this text. The edition shown below is notated in Tonic Sol-Fa, melody in the top line.
Some hymnals and songbooks print additional stanzas for this hymn. The two stanzas beginning “Let me all Thy love accepting” and “In Thy truth Thou dost direct me” are from the Redemption Hymnal (Luton: Assemblies of God Pub. House, 1951 | Fig. 4), unattributed. In this collection, the text was set to BETHANY by Henry Smart (1813–1879), with an optional Tonic Sol-Fa rendering of the melody.
Tunes. The most common tune setting for this hymn is JESUS ONLY by American gospel composer Robert Lowry (1826–1899). His tune was originally published with the hymn “What tho’ clouds are hov’ring o’er me” (“Jesus only”) by Hattie M. Conrey, in Gospel Music (NY: Biglow & Main, 1877 | Fig. 5). This tune is frequently printed with the name DIM OND IESU, which is Welsh for “None but Jesus.”
The first known pairing of Lowry’s tune with Rees’ text was in Christian Hymns (Evangelical Movement of Wales, 1977), no. 210.
Lowry’s tune is often compared with a very similar tune by John Hughes (1872–1914) of Landore, Swansea, called CALON LÂN. Although the two tunes are strikingly similar and are practically interchangeable, they should not be regarded as the same tune. If one can be said to draw from the other, it would have to be Hughes in imitation of Lowry, because Hughes was only 5 years old when JESUS ONLY was first printed. Hughes’ tune was written around 1904 and was distributed in revival booklets. Its first known appearance in a hymnal was Y Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol Newydd (Swansea: Bookroom of the Welsh Independents, 1921 | Fig. 6). For comparison, it is also shown below in standard notation as in Selected Welsh and English Favorite Hymns (New Castle, PA: 1941 | Fig. 7).
Many hymnals (including Fig. 4 above) recommend the tune EBENEZER as an alternative musical setting for “Here is love.”
by CHRIS FENNER
for Hymnology Archive
14 June 2019
Cliff V. Knight, “Here is love, vast as the ocean,” A Companion to Christian Hymns (Bridgend: Evangelical Movement of Wales, 1993), p. 94.
J. Ithel Jones, et al., The Baptist Hymn Book Companion, Rev. Ed. (London: Psalms and Hymns Trust, 1967), p. 258.
Christopher M. Idle, “Here is love, vast as the ocean,” Exploring Praise! vol. 1 (Darlington: Praise Trust, 2006), p. 301.
“Here is love, vast as the ocean,” Hymnary.org:
Martin V. Clarke, “Here is love, vast as the ocean,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology: