Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Love divine, all loves excelling is the incipit (opening words) of one of the best-known hymns written by Charles Wesley. Its theme is the praise of Jesus Christ as the embodiment of God's love, entreating him to raise us to full communion with God the Father.
The text of this hymn has been set to at least a dozen tunes; in recent hymnals, the most common tunes are probably Blaenwern in British hymnals, and Hyfrydol and Beecher in American ones; the Christian Life Hymnal, 2006 sets the text to all three of the foregoing tunes. Other tunes found include Moriah, Abbot's Leigh, Airedale, and Love Divine. All of these except the last mentioned construe the text, metrically, as 8 7 8 7 D; Love Divine (composed for the text by Sir John Stainer) treats it as 8 7 8 7, hence when so set the text has twice as many stanzas as otherwise.