March 08, 2005

8R Bring, O Morn, Your Music

Original Title: "Bring, O Morn, Thy Music," William Channing Gannett (1893), NICAEA, John Bacchus Dykes (1861); New Title: "Bring, O Morn, Your Music," rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. William Channing Gannett, born in Boston, served Unity Church (Unitarian) in St. Paul, and the Unitarian Church in Rochester, where Susan B. Anthony was amongst his congregants. The last line of each verse echoes Revelations 1:8 (which see), but the hymn as a whole personifies and praises nature, bordering on panentheism (although the lyrics textually have nature worshiping God as well, as "Our Creator" and "Mighty Giver"). See also Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-14, "God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist." Gannett wrote the hymn as a summary of the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. It appears in Singing the Living Tradition as "Bring, O Morn, Thy Music, as no. 39, but does not appear in The New Century Hymnal. This version of NICAEA is in F-sharp, although NICAEA in Hymns of the Spirit Two is in E-flat. See No. 17R herein for a version of NICAEA in E-flat.

NICAEA (12.13.12.10.)

1. Bring, O Morn, your mus-ic! Night,~your star-lit si-lence!
O-ceans, laugh the rap-ture to the storm winds cours-ing free!
Suns and pla-nets cho-rus: you are our Cre-a-tor,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!

2. Life and death, your crea-tures, praise~you, Migh-ty Gi-ver!
Praise and prayer are ris-ing in your beast and bird and tree:
Lo! they praise and van-ish, van-ish at your bidd-ing,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!


3. Light us! lead us! love us! cry~your grop-ing na-tions,
speak-ing in a thou-sand tongues, your name a-lone the plea;
weav-ing free-ly out your ho-ly, hap-py pur-pose,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!


4. Life nor death can part us, you~O Love E-ter-nal,
shep-herd of the wan-dering star and souls that way-ward flee!
Home-ward draws the spir-it to your spir-it yearn-ing,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be! A-men.

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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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June 07, 2005

76R It Sounds Along the Ages

Original Title: "It Sounds Along the Ages," William Channing Gannet, alt. (1937), CRÜGER, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., arranged by W. H. Monk from J. Crüger's Neues Wolllkömiisches Gesangbuch (1640); New Title: Same hymn title, BRITISH GRENADIERS, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., Traditional English Melody. It would seem that Gannett entitled the piece "The Word of God." 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. "Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit," 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV); see also 1 Corinthians 12:17, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28. "The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything," John 14:26 (NRSV); see also John 16:13. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal, but does appear in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 187, to the tune FAR OFF LANDS, 7.6.7.6. D, Melody of the Bohemian Brethren, Rock Island, Illinois (1892).

BRITISH GRENADIERS (7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6.)

1. It sounds a-long the a-ges,
soul an-swer-ing to soul;
It kin-dles on the pa-ges
of eve-ry Bi-ble scroll;
The psalm-ist heard and sang it,
from mar-tyr lips it broke,
and pro-phet tongues out-rang it
till sleep-ing na-tions woke.

2. From Si-nai's cliffs in ech-oed,
it breathed from Bud-dha's tree,
it charmed in Ath-en's mar-ket,
it hal-lowed Gal-i-lee;
The ham-mer stroke of Lu-ther,
the Pil-grims' sea-side prayer,
the or-a-cles of Con-cord:
one ho-ly Word de-clare.

3. It calls, and lo, new Jus-tice!
It speaks, and lo, new Truth!
In ev-er no-bler sta-ture
and un-ex-haus-ted youth.
For-ev-er on it sound-eth,
knows naught it-self of time,
our laws but catch the mus-ic
of its e-ter-nal chime.

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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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January 01, 2006

282R O Free Church Beyond Fixed Creeds

Original Title: "Christian, Rise, and Act Thy Creed," Francis Albert Rollo Russell (1893), NUREMBERG, 7.7.7.7., adapted from Rudolph Ahle (1664); New Title: "O Free Church Beyond Fixed Creeds," rev. REH (2006), GOTT SEI DANK, 7.7.7.7., Johann A. Freylinghausen (1704). A fellow in the (British) Royal Meterological Society, Rollo's hymns appeared in the aptly named collection Break of Day. James 2:14-15 (NRSV), "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but . . . a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food . . . and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?" Rollo was, perhaps contrary to expectation, a Unitarian (a fact which the otherwise thorough custodians at cyberhymnal.com do not mention). Despite that, it does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but does appear in The New Century Hymnal, as no. 537, under the name "Christian, Rise, and Act Your Creed," to the tune INNOCENTS.

GOTT SEI DANK (7.7.7.7.)

1. O Free Church be-yond fixed creeds;
let your prayer be in your deeds;
seek the right, per-form the true,
raise your works and life a-new.

2. Hearts a-round you charged with care;
what can help their load to bear?
What can bring in-spir-ing power,
arm their fal-tering wills this hour?

3. Let your aims be hope and joy,
and your wor-ship God’s em-ploy,
rais-ing thanks in hum-ble zeal,
learn-ing ho-ly love to feel.

4. Come, O guide di-vine, and reign;
free-ing faith as-sailed in vain,
per-fect love be-reft of fear,
born in heaven and ra-diant here.

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January 04, 2006

431R All Souls, O God, Are Thine

Original Title: "All Souls, O Lord, Are Thine," Epes Sargent (1813-1880), LANGRAN, 10.10.10.10., James Langran (1863); New Title, "All Souls, O God, Are Thine," rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Sargent was a Universalist minister in the United States. "[Christ] has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth," Ephesians 1:9-10. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man," Hebrews 2:9. "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," 1 John 2:2. "The Savior of all, especially those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10. "God [is] All in All," 1 Corinthians 15:28. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal nor (astonishingly) in Singing the Living Tradition.

LANGRAN (10.10.10.10.)

1. All souls, O God, are thine, as-sur-ance blest!
Thine, not our own to rob of help di-vine;
not ours to doom by an-y hu-man test,
but thine, O gra-cious God, and on-ly thine.

2. Thine, by thy va-rious dis-ci-plines, to lead
to heights where heaven-ly truths im-mort-al shine,
truths none e-ter-nal-ly shall fail to heed;
for all, O God, are thine, for-ev-er thine.

3. For-give the thought, that ev-er-last-ing ill
to a-ny can be part of thy de-sign;
fi-nite, im-per-fect, er-ring, guil-ty-- still
all souls, great God, are thine-- and mer-cy thine. A-men.

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January 05, 2006

546R Faith of the Martyrs, Living Still

Original Title: "Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still," adapted from Frederick William Faber (1849), ST. CATHERINE, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Henri Frederick Hemi (1865); New Title: "Faith of the Martyrs," rev. REH (2006), same hyme tune. Though the son of an Anglican cleric, Faber was a Roman Catholic priest. The hymn speaks of the persecution of Catholics in Britain; the original spoke of "Mary's prayers" that would set Britain free. Its position in Hymns of the Spirit Two (1937) is of note; as no. 546, it is the first hymn in the section marked "SUPPLEMENT." Many of these hymns were reckoned to be tunes of lesser quality, popular with the more rural Universalists. Oddly, however, "Faith of Our Fathers" does not appear in the prior hymnal published by the Universalists, Hymns of the Church (Boston: 1917) (though Reginald Heber's "Forth From the Dark and Stormy Sky" appears therein to ST. CATHERINE, a tune which does not appear anywhere other than at no. 546 in Hymns of the Spirit Two). It may be that its Catholic pedigree (Universalists were generally less anti-Catholic than Unitarians and other Protestants of the day) and the theme of persecution made the hymn appropriate for the "Universalist" section. In New England, the Unitarians were originally part of the "Standing Order" of (state-supported) Puritan/Congregational churches until in some cases the middle part of the 19th century; such standing did not apply to the (relatively speaking, persecuted) Universalists. The lyrics echo Hebrews 11:1-2 (NRSV), "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval." They also obliquely refer to the story in Mark regarding John the Baptist, "she rushed back to the king and requested, 'I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter,' . . . Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter," Mark 6:25-28. One too is reminded of Job in the Hebrew Bible, "But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold," Job 23:10. "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: . . . Gird up your loins . . . I will question you, and you shall declare to me," Job 38:1-3. "Then Job answered the Lord: 'I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted,'" Job 42:1-2. The hymn's lyrical change to "Faith of Our Mothers" is more than fanciful political correction; while the Congregational Church claims the first woman ordained to Christain ministry in the United States, the Universalists claim the first woman approved to the ministry at the denominational level, in the person of Olympia Brown. In the Midwest, female preaching "circuit riders" (including the celebrated Iowa Sisterhood) famously spread the liberating gospel of the faith. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but does appear as "Faith of the Martyrs, Living Still," as no. 381, in The New Century Hymnal.

ST. CATHERINE (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. Faith of the mar-tyrs, liv-ing still,
in spite of dun-geon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
when-e'er we hear that glo-rious word!
Faith of the mar-tyrs, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

2. Faith of our fa-thers, we will strive
to dwell with all souls peace-ful-ly;
and through the truth that comes from God,
we all shall then be tru-ly free.
Faith of our fa-thers, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

3. Our for-bears chained in pri-son dim
were still in heart and con-science free;
and blessed would be our own lives' fate
if we, like them, should live for thee.
Faith of our for-bears, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

4. Faith of our mo-thers, we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife;
and preach thee, too, as love knows how
by kind-ly words and vir-tuous life.
Faith of our mo-thers, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

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July 19, 2006

612R God of All Worlds

Original Title: "Lord of All Worlds," John Quincy Adams (1767-1848); New Title: "God of All Worlds," rev. REH (2006), DEUS TUORUM MILITUM, L.M.D., Grenoble Antiphoner (1753). Paraphrase of Psalm 14. Adams was the sixth President of the United States. A Unitarian, he wrote metrical versions of the psalms and several hymns. He is buried at the historic First Parish Church (Unitarian) in Quincy, Massachusetts.

DEUS TUORUM MILITUM (L.M.D.)

1. God of all worlds, let thanks and praise
to you for-ev-er fill my soul;
with bles-sings you have crowned my days,
my heart, my head, my hand con-trol.
O, let no vain pre-sump-tions rise,
no im-pious mur-mur in my heart,
to crave what-e'er your will de-nies,
or shrink from what your hands im-part.

2. Your child am I, and not an hour,
re-vol-ving in the orbs a-bove,
but brings some to-ken of your power,
but brings some to-ken of your love;
and shall this bo-som dare re-pine,
in night time dare de-ny the dawn,
or spurn the trea-sures of the mine,
be-cause one dia-mond is with-drawn?

3. Some souls do doubt, and not a-lone
your be-ing, God, and bound-less might,
but doubt the fir-ma-ment, your throne,
and doubt the sun’s me-ri-dian light;
and doubt the fa-shion of one's frame,
the voice one hears, the breath one draws;
O way-laid mor-tals, who pro-claim
ef-fects un-num-bered with-out cause!

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