Scripture Verse

The kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21

Introduction

portrait
Louisa M. Alcott
1832–1888

Words: Lou­isa M. Al­cott, cir­ca 1845. The words show a soul wise be­yond her years.

Music: A Lit­tle King­dom Alon­zo P. How­ard, 1873 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of How­ard (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Origin of the Hymn

Mrs. Eva Mun­son Smith, in her Wo­man in Sac­red Song, 1885, p. 668, gives Miss Al­cott’s hymn, A lit­tle king­dom I pos­sess, and prints a note there­on from Miss Al­cott, dat­ed Con­cord [Mas­sa­chu­setts], Oct. 7, 1883, in which Miss Al­cott says that this hymn is the on­ly hymn I ev­er wrote. It was com­posed at thir­teen, and…still ex­press­es my soul’s de­sire.

Julian, p. 1602

Lyrics

A little king­dom I pos­sess,
Where thoughts and feel­ings dwell,
And ve­ry hard I find the task
Of gov­ern­ing it well;
For pas­sion tempts and trou­bles me,
A way­ward will mis­leads,
And self­ish­ness its sha­dow casts,
On all my will and deeds.

How can I learn to rule my­self,
To be the child I should,
Honest and brave, nor ev­er tire
Of try­ing to be good?
How can I keep a sun­ny soul
To shine along life’s way?
How can I tune my lit­tle heart,
To sweet­ly sing all day?

Dear Fa­ther, help me with the love
That cast­est out my fear!
Teach me to lean on Thee and feel
That Thou art ve­ry near.
That no temp­ta­tion is un­seen,
No child­ish grief too small,
Since Thou, with pa­tie­nce in­fi­nite,
Dost soothe and com­fort all.

I do not ask for any crown
But that which all may win;
Nor try to con­quer any world
Except the one with­in.
Be Thou my guide until I find,
Led by a ten­der hand,
Thy hap­py king­dom in my­self
And dare to take com­mand.