“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year”, these words came into the national consciousness when they were spoken by George VI at the end of his Christmas broadcast in 1939. He read the full verse:
I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”
May that Almighty hand guide and uphold us all.
The words come from the poet Minnie Haskins (1875-1957). She called the poem “God Knows”, although it is now know as ‘The Gate of the Year’ in many poetry collections. The verse is inscribed on a panel by the gates of the George VI memorial chapel in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and in a window at the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy.
Fulham-born Sir William H Harris took this verse and set it to music and dedicated the piece to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The men of All Saints Fulham Choir will sing Harris’ work as the anthem at Choral Evensong on Sunday 28th September.