Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Belong to the King

This week on Family Radio I heard a song I had never heard before, & its lyrics really riveted my attention for some strange reason:

I belong to the King, I’m a child of His love,
I shall dwell in His palace so fair;
For He tells of its bliss in yon heaven above,
And His children in splendor [alt. "its splendors"] shall share.

I belong to the King, I’m a child of His love,
And he never forsaketh His own;
He will call me some day to His palace above,
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

I belong to the King, and He loves me, I know,
For His mercy and kindness, so free,
Are unceasingly mine wheresoever I go,
And my Refuge unfailing is He.


I belong to the King, and His promise is sure,
That we all shall be gathered at last
In His kingdom above, by life’s waters so pure,
When this life with its trials is past.


Some sources say the song is also known as "1John 3:1".

A lady named Ida Lillard Reed/Smith (1865-1951) penned the lyrics in 1896, & Joseph Lincoln Hall (1866-1930) composed the original tune (photos available here). Both were Methodists. (Note that some publications attribute the musical arrangement to Maurice A. Clifton [a pseudonym used by Hall] or Shelly Garlock Hamilton.)

Ida was born near Moatsville, West Virginia & died in Arden not too far away; Hall was an honors graduate from the University of Pennsylvania. A cute little coincidence since I lived in Pennsylvania while attending university in West Virginia.

The song of the week should be quite obvious. I was surprised that not a single CD on Amazon contains the song, but it's just as well since I found 2 little MIDI files online that contain the basic melody of a verse & chorus:

53-second version; 1.4kb

46-second version; 3.1kb

G.M. Grena


Me said...

Ida L. Reed was my gr-gr-great Aunt, and was indeed the writer of "I Belong to the King." Photos of her can be found at

She has a wonderful and inspirational life story, which she shared in her autobiography, "My Life Story."

Smith was just a pen name, she never married.

G.M. Grena said...

Thank you for sharing this info! (Here's a direct link to your blog.) Are there any manuscripts of her original composition of "I Belong to the King"? I'm curious about the 2 renditions of the 4th line in the 1st verse:

"in splendor" vs. "its splendors"

robert said...

Thanks for the link to a member of the Reed family. Today is the 59th anniversary of the death of Ida Reed, author of "I Belong to the King." You can learn a bit more about her on my daily hymn blog (Wordwise Hymns) for today.

G.M. Grena said...

Courtesy cross-reference link to other comments on LMLK Wordpress.