A CHILD OF THE KING                                                                   written in 1877

The Story

When Harriett Buell (1834-1910) walked home from her Methodist church in Manlius, New York, one Sunday morning, she was still thinking about her pastor’s sermon. That afternoon, she wrote these words. She wanted to share the blessing she had received, so she sent her poem to her denominational magazine, The Northern Christian Advocate. A few months later, her poem was published… and Harriett assumed that was the end of it.

But, without her knowledge, a music teacher, John Sumner (1839-1918), had been praying to receive a song to replace the one he had commissioned his friend, Philip Bliss (who had recently died an untimely death), to write. When John saw the poem in the magazine, he knew his prayer had been answered… and wrote music to go with those words. And, soon, Harriett’s poem was being sung all over the country.

When Harriett wrote her poem, she entitled it, “The Child of a King”. But, in later years, the song’s title was changed to reflect the fact God is THE King of many children.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – ask yourself if you are 1) a child of the King, and – if so – 2) living like His child.

My Father is rich in houses and lands,

He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,

His coffers are full, He has riches untold.


I’m a child of the King, a child of the King:
with Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.

My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,

once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
but now He is pleading our pardon on high,

that we may be His when He comes by and by.  Refrain

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
a sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
but I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
an heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.  Refrain

A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
all glory to God, I’m a child of the King.  Refrain

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