• Hymns

    Forty days and forty nights

    Hymn #55 Text: George Hunt Smyttan (1822-1870) Music: Martin Herbst (1654-1681) Tune name: HEINLEIN   THE TEXT Smyttan, an Anglican priest, first published this hymn in the Penny Post in 1856 along with two other Lenten poems. This hymn originally had nine stanzas (our Hymnal retains five of these, siginficantly altered from the original). In one of the stanzas exclude from our hymn, the conditions of Christ’s days in the wilderness are described colorfully: Sunbeams scorching all the day; chilly dewdrops nightly shed; prowling beasts about thy way; stones thy pillow, sand thy bed. Another stanza describes the worldly distractions that deter our penitence: And shall we in silken ease, festal…

  • Hymns

    O Lord, and Master of us all

    Text: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) Music: English Melody, pub. c.1721 Tune name: WALSALL   THE TEXT In 1866, the New England poet John Greenleaf Whittier published a 132-line poem called “Our Master.” The poem reflects Whittier’s Quaker upbringing and consequent suspicion of the external expressions of faith (such as sacraments and liturgies). Nevertheless, Episcopalians began singing portions of “Our Master“ in 1916, when six stanzas from the poem were published as this hymn. The first stanza is the same as the 7th stanza of another hymn taken from this long poem, “Immortal Love, for ever full” (#360). 1. O Lord, and Master of us all, whate’er our name or sign,…

  • Hymns

    Jesus, thou Joy of loving hearts

    Hymn #485 Text: Latin hymn, 12th century Music: Sarum plainsong Tune name: CHRISTE REDEMPTOR THE TEXT The 5 stanzas in this hymn are taken from a 12th-century hymn, “Jubilus rithmicus de amore Jesu,” which is often attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). Another hymn, “Jesus, the very thought of thee” (#462) also contains portions from this medieval text. The Hymnal 1940 Companion notes: Whatever its source, it remains one of the most moving expressions of medieval piety. Its basic theme is the love of the soul for God, beginning with an introduction which defines a sense of the mystic presence of God as the supreme joy of mankind. The…

  • Hymns

    Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost

    Text: Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) Music: Friedrich Filitz (1804-1860) Tune name: CAPETOWN   THE TEXT The nephew of the poet William Wordsworth, the author of this hymn was a priest and later a bishop in the Church of England. An accomplished Greek scholar and prolific poet, Christopher Wordsworth published a notable collection of his own hymns in 1862 entitled The Holy Year, or, Hymns for Sundays and holy days throughout the year. Nine of his hymns are in our Hymnal, including “See the Conqueror mounts in triumph” and “O day of rest and gladness.” “Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost” was included in The Holy Year as a hymn appropriate for Quinquagesima, as the epistle…

  • Hymns

    The King of love my shepherd is

    Hymn #345Text: Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877)Music: Traditional Irish melodyTune name: ST. COLUMBA THE TEXT Paraphrases of texts from the psalms are legion, and no psalm received more earnest attention than Psalm 23. George Herbert’s recasting is (not surprisingly) one of the best; our choir often sings Herbert’s poetry to Thomas Tallis’s haunting THIRD MODE MELODY. The first stanza runs: The God of love my shepherd isand He that doth me feed;While he is mine and I am his,What can I want or need? The drama introduced by this rhetorical question is just one of the features that makes Herbert’s paraphrase so wonderful. Henry Willams Baker seems to have gotten his…

  • Hymns,  Reading

    Psalm 51. Miserere mei, Deus

    On this page The textAbout this PsalmAnglican chant setting by C. H. WiltonPlainchant from the Roman GradualMiserere mei, Deus by Josquin des Prez (1450?-1551)Miserere mei, Deus by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594)Miserere mei, Deus by William Byrd (1543-1623)Miserere mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri (c. 1582-1652)Miserere by James MacMillan (b. 1959) The text from the Psalter in The Book of Common Prayer (1928),pointed for singing in Anglican Chant 1   Have mercy upon me, O God  |  after thy  •  great  |  goodness :         according to the multitude of       thy mercies  |  do a|way • mine of|fences.2   Wash me |  throughly  •  from my  |  wickedness…

  • Hymns

    My God, I love thee

    Text: 17th century Spanish hymn Music: Henry J. Gauntlett (1805-1876) Tune name: ST. FULBERT   THE TEXT There was a long-standing tradition that the Spanish poem translated in this hymn was written by St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), co-founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). But as there is no positive evidence for this claim, the hymn is today regarded as from an unknown source. The text is from the point-of-view of an individual believer (rather than the Church as a community of faith) and expresses a simple sentiment: I love Christ because he loved me — to the point of an agonizing death. Christ’s loving sacrifice is all the…

  • Hymns

    Go forward, Christian soldier

    Text: Laurence Tuttiett (1825-1897) Music: Henry Smart (1813-1879) Tune name: LANCASHIRE   THE TEXT This hymn was originally published in Laurence Tuttiett’s Counsels of a Godfather (1861), and was intended for use at Confirmation. 1. Go forward, Christian soldier, beneath his banner true; the Lord himself, thy Leader, shall all thy foes subdue. His love foretells thy trials; he knows thine hourly need; he can with bread of heaven thy fainting spirit feed. 2. Go forward, Christian soldier, fear not the secret foe; far more o’er thee are watching than human eyes can know; trust only Christ, thy Captain; cease not to watch and pray; heed not the treach’rous voices that…

  • Hymns

    Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest

    Hymn #207 Text: George Wallace Briggs (1875-1959) Music: George Henry Day (1883-1966) Tune name: EDSALL THE TEXT This hymn was originally published in the British hymnbook Songs of Praise (1931). The text is based on the encounter of the risen Christ with the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:28ff.). Invited to be their guest, Christ becomes their host. Participation in the gift of the eucharist is the source of the Church’s life and unity. The author of the text, George Wallace Briggs, was an Anglican priest who served a number of parishes and also was a chaplain in the Royal Navy. Canon of Leicester Cathedral and later of…

  • Hymns

    Behold a Sower!

    Hymn #401 Text: Washington Gladden (1836-1918) Music: Theodore Parker Ferris (1908-1972) Tune name: WEYMOUTH THE TEXT This hymn by a Congregational minister connects the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4ff.) with Psalm 97:11: “There is sprung up a light for the righteous, and joyful gladness for such as are true-hearted.” 1. Behold a Sower! from afar he goeth forth with might; the rolling years his furrows are, his seed, the growing light; for all the just his word is sown, it springeth up alway; the tender blade is hope’s young dawn, the harvest, love’s new day. 2. O Lord of life, to thee we lift our hearts in praise for…