April 25, 2005

45R Morning, So Fair to See

Original Title: "Morning, So Fair to See," Vincent Brown Silliman (1934), ST. ELIZABETH, 6.6.9.6.6.8., Silesian Folksong; New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. ST. ELIZABETH is also unhappily (albeit for fanciful reasons) known as CRUSADER'S HYMN. Silliman was a Unitarian and humanist, and one of the editors of the Hymns for the Celebration of Life, published in 1964, the first hymnal produced by the Unitarian Universalist Association after consolidation in 1961. As the giver of the "Berry Street Address" at UUA's 1977 General Assembly in Ithaca, Silliman said "hymn tinkering is a long-standing practice. Some tinkers have spread so widely that the original is all but forgotten." Another recast version of Silliman's hymn can be found in Singing the Living Tradition, at no. 42; it does not appear in The New Century Hymnal. Morning's beauty is a topic in Genesis; e.g., Genesis 1:5-31. Morning is a time when people went to the temple; e.g., Luke 21:38, John 8:2; morning also bespeaks glory; e.g., Song of Solomon 6:10 ("Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun"); see also Isaiah 58:8.

ST. ELIZABETH (6.6.9.6.6.8.)

1. Morn-ing, so fair to see,*
Night, veiled in mys-ter-y,
Glo-rious the earth and res-plen-dent skies!
Pil-grims, we march a-long,
Sing-ing our Pil-grim song,
As through an earth-ly par-a-dise.

2. Green are the grow-ing trees;
Blue are the flash-ing seas;
Glo-rious each won-der the sea-sons bring.
Bright-er is faith's sur-mise
shin-ing in Pil-grims' eyes:
Bright-er the com-mon-weal we sing.

3. Age af-ter age we rise,
'Neath the e-ter-nal skies,
In-to the light from the sha-dowed past:
Still shall our Pil-grim song,
Bou-yant and brave and strong,
Re-sound while life and moun-tains last.

*Or 'shines so brightly.' A version of the hymn less reticient about the word "fair," and thus much closer to the original text, might read as follows:

1. Morn-ing, so fair to see,
Night, veiled in mys-ter-y,
Glo-rious the earth and res-plen-dent skies!
Pil-grims, we march a-long,
Sing-ing our Pil-grim song,
As through an earth-ly par-a-dise.

2. Fair are the verdant trees;
fair are the flash-ing seas;
Fair is each won-der the sea-sons bring.
Fair-er is faith's sur-mise
shin-ing in Pil-grims' eyes:
Fair-er the com-mon-weal we sing.

3. Age af-ter age we rise,
'Neath the e-ter-nal skies,
In-to the light from the sha-dowed past:
Still shall our Pil-grim song,
Bou-yant and brave and strong,
Re-sound while life and moun-tains last.

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May 24, 2005

67R O Thou Whose Power Over Moving Worlds Presides

Original Title: "O Thou Whose Power Over Moving World Presides," Boethius (480-525), trans. Samuel Johnson (1750), OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10), Genevan Psalter (1551); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Boethius was a Roman statesman; his most famous work was The Consolations of Philosophy. He has been thought both a Christian and indeed a Christian martyr, yet his most famous work does not mention Christ or the Christian religion, and seems in the eyes of some to speak only the language of neo-Platonism (in a narrow sense, "a philosophical dialogue modelled on strictly pagan productions"). Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), also the name of the Unitarian hymnwriter from the 19th century (see no. 219R), here refers instead to the Englishman from a century before. Johnson was the subject of perhaps the earliest and best-known biography in English, written by John Boswell. A stanza of Boethius' original Latin has been added. "legem pone mihi Domine in via tua et dirige me in semita recta propter inimicos meos," Pslam 26:11 (Vulgate); "But as for me, I will go on in my upright ways: be my saviour, and have mercy on me," Psalm 26:11 (BBE); see also Proverbs 15:24, 12:28. "Dominus solus dux eius fuit et non erat cum eo deus alienus," Deuteronomy 32:12 (Vulgate); "So the Lord only was his guide, no other god was with him," Deuteronomy 32:12 (BBE); Exodus 13:21, 15:13, Acts 1:16. "[T]imor Domini principium," Proverbs 1:7a (Vulgate); "Start with God- the first step in learning is bowing down to God," Proverbs 1:7a (The Message); see also Proverbs 4:7, Proverbs 9:10. "[Christ] is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead," Colossians 1:18a (YLT); "[] qui est principium primogenitus ex mortuis," Colossians 1:18a (Vulgate). Romans 11:33 (KJV), "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" 1 Corinthians 2:7 (KJV), "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory," see also 1 Corinthians 1:24. Psalms 104:24 (KVJ), "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom, hast thou made them all," see also Psalm 136:5, Proverbs 3:19. Jeremiah 10:12 (KJV), "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." Genesis 1:14, "And God said, let there be lights," see also Genesis 7:24. The hymn is not included in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10)

1. O Thou whose power o'er mov-ing worlds pre-sides,
whose voice cre-a-ted, and whose wis-dom guides,
On the dim earth in pure ef-ful-gence shine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine.

2. 'Tis thine a-lone to calm the re-verent breast,
with si-lent con-fi-dence and ho-ly rest;
from thee, great God! we spring, to thee we tend,
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!

a. Tu nam-que se-re-num,
Tu re-qui-es tran-quil-la pi-is.
Te cer-ne-re fi-nis,
Prin-ci-pi-um, Vec-tor, Dux,
Se-mi-ta, Ter-mi-nus, I-dem.

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June 21, 2005

90R The Morning Hangs a Signal

Original Title: "The Morning Hangs a Signal," William Channing Gannett, MEIRIONYDD, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., William Lloyd (1840); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2007), same hymn tune. William Channing Gannett (1840-1923) was an American Unitarian minister, particularly active within the Western Unitarian Conference. He was author of a document of great historical importance to the WUC entitled "Things Commonly Believed Among Us". He played a particularly important role in the women's suffrage movement in the United States; Susan B. Anthony was amongst his congregants while a pastor in Rochester, New York. "I appointed you a prophet to the nations . . . Now I have put my words in your mouth," Jeremiah 1:5, 9 (NRSV). "No prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown," Luke 4:24. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?," Psalm 27:1 (KJV). "But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings," Malachi 4:2 (NRSV); see also Psalm 19:5-6, 84:11, Matthew 13:43, Isaiah 58:8. "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star, Revelation 22:16 (KJV), see also Joel 2:2. "Is not my word like fire," Jeremiah 23:29 (NRSV); see also Jeremiah 5:14. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal, but it does appear in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 40, slightly modified from how it appears in Hymns of the Spirit Two, and in a form with minor differences from below.

MEIRIONYDD (7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6.)

1. The morn-ing hangs a sig-nal
up-on the moun-tain crest,
while all the sleep-ing val-leys
in sil-ent dark-ness rest;
From peak to peak it flash-es,
it laughs a-long the sky,
til glo-ry of the sun-light
on all the land doth lie.

2. A-bove the gen-er-a-tions,
the lone-ly proph-ets rise,
while truth flings dawn and day-star
with-in their glow-ing eyes;
And oth-er eyes, be-hold-ing,
are kind-led from that flame,
and dawn be-com-eth morn-ing,
as proph-ehts Love pro-claim.

3. The soul hath lift-ed mo-ments,
a-bove the drift of days,
when life's great mean-ing break-eth
in sun-rise on our ways;
Be-hold the ra-diant to-ken
of faith a-bove all fear;
Night soon shall end its splen-dor
that morn-ing shall ap-pear.

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