A man in Del Mar, California, wonders about the expression must needs meaning “must by necessity.” Is it a regionalism, pretentious, or perhaps used just for emphasis? This is part of a complete episode.

  1. mithrosonline says:

    I encounter this phrase at least monthly in one of my favorite hymns “The Way of The Cross Leads Home” (1906):

    I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
    There’s no other way but this;
    I shall ne’er get sight of the Gates of Light,
    If the way of the cross I miss.

    Refrain:
    The way of the cross leads home,
    The way of the cross leads home;
    It is sweet to know, as I onward go,
    The way of the cross leads home.

    I must needs go on in the blood-sprinkled way,
    The path that the Savior trod,
    If I ever climb to the heights sublime,
    Where the soul is at home with God.

    Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
    To walk in it nevermore;
    For my Lord says, “Come,” and I seek my home,
    Where He waits at the open door.

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