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April 17, 2005

40R Seek Not Afar For Beauty

Original Title: "Seek Not Afar For Beauty," Minot Judson Savage, LANGRAN,, James Langran (1863); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), YORKSHIRE,, John Wainwright (1750). Langran and Wainwright were both English Anglicans; Savage was a 19th Century American, associated at various times with Congregational and Unitarian churches. The world-weary Hebrew prophet Ecclesiastes is faintly echoed here, the idea being that there is "nothing new under the sun," such that it is in life's simple pleasures where we might find meaning and transcendence: "What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity." Ecclesiastes 2:2-23. "He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil." Ecclesiastes 3:11-13. Three verses make up a version that appears to COOLINGE in Singing the Living Tradition; the hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal.


1. Seek not a-far for beau-ty. Lo! it glows
in dew-wet grass-es all a-bout your feet;
in birds, in sun-shine, child-ren's fac-es sweet,
in stars and moun-tain sum-mits topped with snows.
Go not a-broad for hap-pi-ness. For see,
it is a flow-er that here blooms free-ly.

2. Bring love and jus-tice home, and then no more
will you won-der where peace and joy are taught.
Dream not of no-ble ser-vice else-where wrought.
The sim-ple du-ty now waits at your door;
God's voice speaks ev-er hol-i-er com-mands:
Life's saint-ly deeds are done by com-mon hands.

3. In won-der-work-ings, or some bush a-flame,
we look for Truth, and fan-cy it con-cealed;
But in earth's com-mon things, Life stands re-vealed,
while grass and flowers and stars spell out God's Name.
Seek not a-far for beau-ty. Lo! for see
it is a flow-er that here blooms free-ly.

Word Score
PDF Score
Noteworthy Composer File

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Posted by rehurst at April 17, 2005 10:53 PM

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