I have loved thee with an everlasting love.@Jeremiah 31:3
John B. Dykes (1823–1876)

William Cowper, in Maxfield’s New Appendix, 1768.

St. Bees John B. Dykes, 1862 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Mr. Bennet Kaye, who was assistant organist with Dr. Dykes, says that the doctor would often come to the boys’ rehearsals before morning service and practice with them the music for the day. Sometimes he would wander off into a new melody, and all would listen with rapt attention. One day he played over an air several times. It made a great impression on Mr. Kaye, who afterwards recognized it as ‘St. Bees,’ the tune which has become wedded with Cowper’s hymn. It takes its name from a place where the doctor had passed many pleasant hours.

Telford, p. 263

William Cowper (1731–1800)

Hark, my soul, it is the Lord!
’Tis thy Savior, hear His Word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
Say, poor, sinner, lovest thou Me?

“I delivered thee when bound,
And, when bleeding, healed thy wound;
Sought thee wandering, set thee right,
Turned thy darkness into light.

“Can a woman’s tender care
Cease toward the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
Yet will I remember thee.

“Mine is an unchanging love,
Higher than the heights above,
Deeper than the depths beneath,
Free and faithful, strong as death.

Thou shalt see My glory soon,
When the work of grace is done;
Partner of My throne shalt be:
Say, poor sinner, lovest thou Me?

Lord, it is my chief complaint
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love Thee, and adore:
O for grace to love Thee more!