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The Story Of The Hymns And Tunes by John Brown (of Wamphray)




This hymn is of doubtful authorship, by some assigned to as late a date as 1680, and by others to the 13th century as one of the Latin poems of St. Bonaventura, Bishop of Albano, who was born at Bagnarea in Tuscany, A.D.1221. He was a learned man, a Franciscan friar, one of the greatest teachers and writers of his church, and finally a cardinal. Certainly Roman Catholic in its origin, whoever was its author, it is a Christian hymn qualified in every way to be sung by the universal church.

Adeste, fideles
Laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem;
Natum videte Regem angelorum.

Venite, adoremus,
Venite, adoremus!
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

This has been translated by Rev. Frederick Oakeley (1808-1880) and by Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) the version of the former being the one in more general use. The ancient hymn is much abridged in the hymnals, and even the translations have been altered and modernized in the three or four stanzas commonly sung. Caswall's version renders the first line |Come hither, ye faithful,| literally construing the Latin words.

The following is substantially Oakeley's English of the |Adeste, fideles.|

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
To Bethlehem hasten now with glad accord;
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels.

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.

Sing choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation
Through Heaven's high arches be your praises poured; Now to our God be
Glory in the highest!
O come, let us adore Him!

Yea, Lord, we bless Thee,
Born for our salvation
Jesus, forever be Thy name adored!
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him!

The hymn with its primitive music as chanted in the ancient churches, was known as |The Midnight Mass,| and was the processional song of the religious orders on their way to the sanctuaries where they gathered in preparation for the Christmas morning service. The modern tune -- or rather the tune in modern use -- is the one everywhere familiar as the |Portuguese Hymn.| (See page 205.)


It was the winter wild
While the Heavenly Child
All meanly wrapped in the rude manger lies.
Nature in awe of Him
Had doffed her gaudy trim
With her great Master so to sympathize.

* * * * *

No war nor battle sound
Was heard the world around.
The idle spear and shield were high uphung.
The hooked chariot stood
Unstained with hostile blood,
The trumpets spake not to the armed throng,
And Kings sat still with awful eye
As if they knew their Sovereign Lord was by.

This exalted song -- the work of a boy of scarcely twenty-one -- is a Greek ode in form, of two hundred and sixteen lines in twenty-seven strophes. Some of its figures and fancies are more to the taste of the seventeenth century than to ours, but it is full of poetic and Christian sublimities, and its high periods will be heard in the Christmas hymnody of coming centuries, though it is not the fashion to sing it now.

John Milton, son and grandson of John Miltons, was born in Breadstreet, London, Dec.9, 1608, fitted for the University in St. Paul's school, and studied seven years at Cambridge. His parents intended him for the church, but he chose literature as a profession, travelled and made distinguished friendships in Italy, Switzerland and France, and when little past his majority was before the public as a poet, author of the Ode to the Nativity, of a Masque, and of many songs and elegies. In later years he entered political life under the stress of his Puritan sympathies, and served under Cromwell and his successor as Latin Secretary of State through the time of the Commonwealth. While in public duty he became blind, but in his retirement composed |Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.| Died in 1676.


In the old |Carmina Sacra| a noble choral (without name except |No war nor battle sound|) well interprets portions of the 4th and 5th stanzas of the great hymn, but replaces the line --

|The idle spear and shield were high uphung.|

-- with the more modern and less figurative --

|No hostile chiefs to furious combat ran.|

Three stanzas are also added, by the Rev. H.O. Dwight, missionary to Constantinople. The substituted line, which is also, perhaps, the composition of Mr. Dwight, rhymes with --

|His reign of peace upon the earth began,|

-- and as it is not un-Miltonic, few singers have ever known that it was not Milton's own.

Dr. John Knowles Paine, Professor of Music at Harvard University, and author of the Oratorio of |St. Peter,| composed a cantata to the great Christmas Ode of Milton, probably about 1868.

Professor Paine died Apr.25, 1906.

It is worth noting that John Milton senior, the great poet's father, was a skilled musician and a composer of psalmody. The old tunes |York| and |Norwich,| in Ravenscroft's collection and copied from it in many early New England singing-books, are supposed to be his.

The Miltons were an old Oxfordshire Catholic family, and John, the poet's father, was disinherited for turning Protestant, but he prospered in business, and earned the comfort of a country gentleman. He died, very aged, in May, 1646, and his son addressed a Latin poem (|Ad Patrem|) to his memory.


This hymn of Charles Wesley, dating about 1730, was evidently written with the |Adeste Fideles| in mind, some of the stanzas, in fact, being almost like translations of it. The form of the two first lines was originally --

Hark! how all the welkin rings,
|Glory to the King of Kings!|

-- but was altered thirty years later by Rev. Martin Madan (1726-1790) to --

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!

Other changes by the same hand modified the three following stanzas, and a fifth stanza was added by John Wesley --

Hail the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in His wings.


|Mendelssohn| is the favorite musical interpreter of the hymn. It is a noble and spirited choral from Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's cantata, |Gott ist Licht.|


This inspirational lyric of Dr. Watts never grows old. It was written in 1719.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns!
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

Dr. Edward Hodges (1796-1867) wrote an excellent psalm-tune to it which is still in occasional use, but the music united to the hymn in the popular heart is |Antioch,| an adaptation from Handel's Messiah. This companionship holds unbroken from hymnal to hymnal and has done so for sixty or seventy years; and, in spite of its fugue, the tune -- apparently by some magic of its own -- contrives to enlist the entire voice of a congregation, the bass falling in on the third beat as if by intuition. The truth is, the tune has become the habit of the hymn, and to the thousands who have it by heart, as they do in every village where there is a singing school, |Antioch| is |Joy to the World,| and |Joy to the World| is |Antioch.|


This fine hymn, so many years appearing with the simple sign |Cawood| or |J. Cawood| printed under it, still holds its place by universal welcome.

Hark! what mean those holy voices
Sweetly sounding through the skies?
Lo th' angelic host rejoices;
Heavenly hallelujahs rise.

Hear them tell the wondrous story,
Hear them chant in hymns of joy,
Glory in the highest, glory,
Glory be to God on high!

The Rev. John Cawood, a farmer's son, was born at Matlock, Derbyshire, Eng., March 18, 1775, graduated at Oxford, 1801, and was appointed perpetual curate of St. Anne's in Bendly, Worcestershire. Died Nov.7, 1852. He is said to have written seventeen hymns, but was too modest to publish any.


Dr. Dykes' |Oswald,| and Henry Smart's |Bethany| are worthy expressions of the feeling in Cawood's hymn. In America, Mason's |Amaland,| with fugue in the second and third lines, has long been a favorite.


This was written by Nahum Tate (1652-1715), and after two hundred years the church remembers and sings the song. Six generations have grown up with their childhood memory of its pictorial verses illustrating St. Luke's Christmas story.

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around.

|Fear not| said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind,
|Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.|


Modern hymnals have substituted |Christmas| and other more or less spirited tunes for Read's |Sherburne,| which was the first musical translation of the hymn to American ears. But, to show the traditional hold that the New England fugue melody maintains on the people, many collections print it as alternate tune. Some modifications have been made in it, but its survival is a tribute to its real merit.

Daniel Read, the creator of |Sherburne,| |Windham,| |Russia,| |Stafford,| |Lisbon,| and many other tunes characteristic of a bygone school of psalmody, was born in Rehoboth, Mass., Nov.2, 1757. He published The American Singing Book, 1785, Columbian Harmony, 1793, and several other collections. Died in New Haven, Ct., 1836.


Rev. Edmund Hamilton Sears, author of this beautiful hymn-poem, was born at Sandisfield, Berkshire Co., Mass., April 6, 1810, and educated at Union College and Harvard University. He became pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Mass., 1838. Died in the adjoining town of Weston, Jan.14, 1876. The hymn first appeared in the Christian Register in 1857.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold.

|Peace to the earth, good will to men
From Heaven's all-gracious King.|
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world.

Above its sad and lonely plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.


No more sympathetic music has been written to these lines than |Carol,| the tune composed by Richard Storrs Willis, a brother of Nathaniel Parker Willis the poet, and son of Deacon Nathaniel Willis, the founder of the Youth's Companion. He was born Feb, 10, 1819, graduated at Yale in 1841, and followed literature as a profession. He was also a musician and composer. For many years he edited the N.Y. Musical World, and, besides contributing frequently to current literature, published Church Chorals and Choir Studies, Our Church Music and several other volumes on musical subjects. Died in Detroit, May 7, 1900.

The much-loved and constantly used advent psalm of Mr. Sears, --

Calm on the listening ear of night
Come heaven's melodious strains
Where wild Judea stretches far
Her silver-mantled plains,

-- was set to music by John Edgar Gould, and the smooth choral with its sweet chords is a remarkable example of blended voice and verse.


Phillips Brooks, the eloquent bishop of Massachusetts, loved to write simple and tender poems for the children of his church and diocese. They all reveal his loving heart and the beauty of his consecrated imagination. This one, the best of his Christmas Songs, was slow in coming to public notice, but finally found its place in hymn-tune collections.

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King
And peace to men on earth.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still
The dear Christ enters in.

Phillips Brooks, late bishop of the diocese of Massachusetts, was born in Boston, Dec.13, 1835; died Jan.23, 1893. He was graduated at Harvard in 1855, and at the Episcopal Divinity School of Alexandria, Va., 1859. The first ten years of his ministry were spent in Pennsylvania, after which he became rector of Trinity Church, Boston, and was elected bishop in 1891. He was an inspiring teacher and preacher, an eloquent pulpit orator, and a man of deep and rich religious life.

The hymn was written in 1868, and it was, no doubt, the ripened thought of his never-forgotten visit to the |little town of Bethlehem| two years before.


|Bethlehem| is the appropriate name of a tune written by J. Barnby, and adapted to the words, but it is the hymn's first melody (named |St. Louis| by the compiler who first printed it in the Church Porch from original leaflets) that has the credit of carrying it to popularity.

The composer was Mr. Redner, organist of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, of which Rector Brooks was then in charge. Lewis Henry Redner, born 1831, was not only near the age of his friend and pastor but as much devoted to the interests of the Sunday-school, for whose use the hymn was written, and he had promised to write a score to which it could be sung on the coming Sabbath. Waking in the middle of the night, after a busy Saturday that sent him to bed with his brain |in a whirl,| he heard |an angel strain,| and immediately rose and pricked the notes of the melody. The tune had come to him just in time to be sung. A much admired tune has also been written to this hymn by Hubert P. Main.



Sur nos chemins les rameaux et les fleurs
Sont repandos --

O'er all the way green palms and blossoms gay
Are strewn to-day in festive preparation,
Where Jesus comes to wipe our tears away.
E'en now the throng to welcome Him prepare;
Join all and sing. --

Jean Baptiste Faure, author of the words and music, was born at Moulins, France, Jan.15, 1830. As a boy he was gifted with a beautiful voice, and crowds used to gather wherever he sang in the streets of Paris. Little is known of his parentage, and apparently the sweet voice of the wandering lad was his only fortune. He found wealthy friends who sent him to the Conservatoire, but when his voice matured it ceased to serve him as a singer. He went on with his study of instrumental music, but mourned for his lost vocal triumphs, and his longing became a subject of prayer. He promised God that if his power to sing were given back to him he would use it for charity and the good of mankind. By degrees he recovered his voice, and became known as a great baritone. As professional singer and composer at the Paris Grand Opera, he had been employed largely in dramatic work, but his |Ode to Charity| is one of his enduring and celebrated pieces, and his songs written for benevolent and religious services have found their way into all Christian lands.

His |Palm-Branches| has come to be a sine qua non on its calendar Sunday wherever church worship is planned with any regard to the Feasts of the Christian year.


Perhaps the most notable feature in the early hymnology of the Oriental Church was its Resurrection songs. Being hymns of joy, they called forth all the ceremony and spectacle of ecclesiastical pomp. Among them -- and the most ancient one of those preserved -- is the hymn of John of Damascus, quoted in the second chapter (p.54). This was the proclamation-song in the watch-assemblies, when exactly on the midnight moment at the shout of |Christos egerthe!| ([Greek: Christos egerthe].) |Christ is risen!| thousands of torches were lit, bells and trumpets pealed, and (in the later centuries) salvos of cannon shook the air.

Another favorite hymn of the Eastern Church was the |Salve, Beate Mane,| |Welcome, Happy Morning,| of Fortunatus. (Chap.10, p.357.) This poem furnished cantos for Easter hymns of the Middle Ages. Jerome of Prague sang stanzas of it on his way to the stake.

An anonymous hymn, |Poneluctum, Magdelena,| in medieval Latin rhyme, is addressed to Mary Magdelene weeping at the empty sepulchre. The following are the 3d and 4th stanzas, with a translation by Prof. C.S. Harrington of Wesleyan University:

Gaude, plaude, Magdalena!
Tumba Christus exiit!
Tristis est peracta scena,
Victor mortis rediit;
Quem deflebas morientem,
Nunc arride resurgentem!

Tolle vultum, Magdalena!
Redivivum aspice;
Vide frons quam sit amoena,
Quinque plagas inspice;
Fulgent, sic ut margaritae,
Ornamenta novae vitae.

* * * * *

Magdalena, shout for gladness!
Christ has left the gloomy grave;
Finished is the scene of sadness;
Death destroyed, He comes to save;
Whom with grief thou sawest dying,
Greet with smiles, the tomb defying.

Lift thine eyes, O Magdalena!
Lo! thy Lord before thee stands;
See! how fair the thorn-crowned forehead;
Mark His feet, His side, His hands;
Glow His wounds with pearly whiteness!
Hallowing life with heavenly brightness!

The hymnaries of the Christian Church for seventeen hundred years are so rich in Easter hallelujahs and hosannas that to introduce them all would swell a chapter to the size of an encyclopedia -- and even to make a selection is a responsible task.

Simple mention must suffice of Luther's --

In the bonds of death He lay;

-- of Watts' --

He dies, the Friend of sinners dies;

-- of John Wesley's --

Our Lord has gone up on high;

-- of C.F. Gellert's --

Christ is risen! Christ is risen!
He hath burst His bonds in twain;

-- omitting hundreds which have been helpful in psalmody, and are, perhaps, still in choir or congregational use.


Begins a hymn of Charles Wesley's and is also the first line of a hymn prepared for Sunday-school use by Mrs. Storrs, wife of the late Dr. Richard Salter Storrs of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Wesley's hymn is sung -- with or without the hallelujah interludes -- to |Telemann's Chant,| (Zeuner), to an air of Mendelssohn, and to John Stainer's |Paschale Gaudium.| Like the old New England |Easter Anthem| it appears to have been suggested by an anonymous translation of some more ancient (Latin) antiphony.

Jesus Christ is risen to day,
Our triumphant holy day,

* * * * *

Who endured the cross and grave.
Sinners to redeem and save,


This work of an amateur genius, with its rustic harmonies, suited the taste of colonial times, and no doubt the devout church-goers of that day found sincere worship and thanksgiving in its flamboyant music. |An Anthem for Easter,| in A major by William Billings (1785) occupied several pages in the early collections of psalmody and |the sounding joy| was in it. Organs were scarce, but beyond the viols of the village choirs it needed no instrumental accessories. The language is borrowed from the New Testament and Young's Night Thoughts.

The Lord is risen indeed!
The Lord is risen indeed!

Following this triumphant overture, a recitative bass solo repeats I Cor.15:20, and the chorus takes it up with crowning hallelujahs. Different parts, per fugam, inquire from clef to clef --

And did He rise?
And did He rise? --
Hear [the answer], O ye nations!
Hear it, O ye dead!

Then duet, trio and chorus sing it, successively --

He rose! He rose! He rose!
He burst the bars of death,
And triumphed o'er the grave!

The succeeding thirty-four bars -- duet and chorus -- take home the sacred gladness to the heart of humanity --

Then, then I rose,

* * * * *

And seized eternal youth,
Man all immortal, hail!
Heaven's all the glory, man's the boundless bliss.


In the six-eight syllable verse once known as |hallelujah metre| -- written by Dr. Doddridge to be sung after a sermon on the text in 1st Corinthians noted in the above anthem --

Yes, the Redeemer rose,
The Saviour left the dead,
And o'er our hellish foes
High raised His conquering head.
In wild dismay the guards around
Fall to the ground and sink away.

Lewis Edson's |Lenox| (1782) is an old favorite among its musical interpreters.


This hymn for the song-service of the Ruggles St. Church, Boston, was written by Rev. Theron Brown.

O short was His slumber; He woke from the dust;
The Saviour death's chain could not hold;
And short, since He rose, is the sleep of the just; They shall wake, and His glory behold.

* * * * *

Dear grave in the garden; hope smiled at its door
Where love's brightest triumph was told;
Christ lives! and His life will His people restore! They shall wake, and His glory behold.

The music is Bliss' tune to Spafford's |When Peace Like a River.|

Another by the same writer, sung by the same church chorus, is --

He rose! O morn of wonder!
They saw His light go down
Whose hate had crushed Him under,
A King without a crown.
No plume, no garland wore He,
Despised death's Victor lay,
And wrapped in night His glory,
That claimed a grander day.

* * * * *

He rose! He burst immortal
From death's dark realm alone,
And left its heavenward portal
Swung wide for all his own.
Nor need one terror seize us
To face earth's final pain,
For they who follow Jesus,
But die to live again.

The composer's name is lost, the tune being left nameless when printed. The impression is that it was a secular melody. A very suitable tune for the hymn is Geo. J. Webb's |Millennial Dawn| (|the Morning Light is breaking.|)



We plow the fields and scatter
The good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered
By God's Almighty hand,
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes, and the sunshine
And soft, refreshing rain,
All, all good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love!

Matthias Claudius, who wrote the German original of this little poem, was a native of Reinfeld, Holstein, born 1770 and died 1815. He wrote lyrics, humorous, pathetic and religious, some of which are still current in Germany.

The translator of the verses is Miss Jane Montgomery Campbell, whose identity has not been traced. Hers is evidently one of the retiring names brought to light by one unpretending achievement. English readers owe to her the above modest and devout hymn, which was first published here in Rev. C.S. Bere's Garland of Songs with Tunes, 1861.

Little is known of Arthur Cottman, composer to Miss Campbell's words. He was born in 1842, and died in 1879.

[Illustration: Lowell Mason]


Stanzas of this enduring hymn of Watts' have been as often recited as sung.

He sends His showers of blessing down
To cheer the plains below;
He makes the grass the mountains crown,
And corn in valleys grow.


One of the chorals -- if not the best -- to claim partnership with this sacred classic, is John Cole's |Geneva,| distinguished among the few fugue tunes which the singing world refuses to dismiss. There is a growing grandeur in the opening solo and its following duet as they climb the first tetra-chord, when the full harmony suddenly reveals the majesty of the music. The little parenthetic duo at the eighth bar breaks the roll of the song for one breath, and the concord of voices closes in again like a diapason. One thinks of a bird-note making a waterfall listen.


Let us sing of the sheaves, when the summer is done, And the garners are stored with the gifts of the sun. Shouting home from the fields like the voice of the sea, Let us join with the reapers in glad jubilee, --

Harvest home! (double rep.)
Let us chant His praise who has crowned our days
With bounty of the harvest home.

Who hath ripened the fruits into golden and red?
Who hath grown in the valleys our treasures of bread, That the owner might heap, and the stranger might glean For the days when the cold of the winter is keen?
Harvest home!
Let us chant, etc.

For the smile of the sunshine, again and again,
For the dew on the garden, the showers on the plain, For the year, with its hope and its promise that end, Crowned with plenty and peace, let thanksgiving ascend, Harvest home!
Let us chant, etc.

We shall gather a harvest of glory, we know,
From the furrows of life where in patience we sow.
Buried love in the field of the heart never dies,
And its seed scattered here will be sheaves in the skies, Harvest home!
Let us chant, etc.

Thanksgiving Hymn. Boston, 1890. Theron Brown.

Tune |To the Work, To the Work.| W.H. Doane.


Written by James Montgomery in 1840, and published in the Evangelical Magazine as the Harvest Hymn for that year.

The God of harvest praise;
In loud thanksgiving raise
Heart, hand and voice.
The valleys smile and sing,
Forests and mountains sing,
The plains their tribute bring,
The streams rejoice.

* * * * *

The God of harvest praise;
Hearts, hands and voices raise
With sweet accord;
From field to garner throng,
Bearing your sheaves along,
And in your harvest song
Bless ye the Lord.

Tune, |Dort| -- Lowell Mason.



These stanzas of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, with their poetic beauty and grateful religious spirit, have furnished an orison worthy of a place in all the hymn books. In feeling and in faith the hymn is a matin song for the world, supplying words and thoughts to any and every heart that worships.

Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh, When the bird waketh and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee, in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

* * * * *

When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eyes look up to Thee in prayer,
Sweet the repose beneath Thy wings o'ershadowing,
But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there.


Barnby's |Windsor,| and |Stowe| by Charles H. Morse (1893) -- both written to the words.

Mendelssohn's |Consolation| is a classic interpretation of the hymn, and finely impressive when skillfully sung, but simpler -- and sweeter to the popular ear -- is Mason's |Henley,| written to Mrs. Eslings' --

|Come unto me when shadows darkly gather.|


John Keble's beautiful meditation --

Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear;

John Leland's --

The day is past and gone;

and Phebe Brown's --

I love to steal awhile away;

-- have already been noticed. Bishop Doane's gentle and spiritual lines express nearly everything that a worshipping soul would include in a moment of evening thought. The first and last stanzas are the ones most commonly sung.

Softly now the light of day
Fades upon my sight away:
Free from care, from labor free,
Lord I would commune with Thee.

* * * * *

Soon for me the light of day
Shall forever pass away;
Then, from sin and sorrow free,
Take me, Lord, to dwell with Thee.


Both Kozeluck and J.E. Gould, besides Louis M. Gottschalk and Dr. Henry John Gauntlett, have tried their skill in fitting music to this hymn, but only Gottschalk and Kozeluck approach the mood into which its quiet words charm a pious and reflective mind. Possibly its frequent association with |Holley,| composed by George Hews, may influence a hearer's judgement of other melodies but there is something in that tune that makes it cling to the hymn as if by instinctive kinship.

Others may have as much or more artistic music but |Holley| in its soft modulations seems to breathe the spirit of every word.

It was this tune to which a stranger recently heard a group of mill-girls singing Bishop Doane's verses. The lady, a well-known Christian worker, visited a certain factory, and the superintendent, after showing her through the building, opened a door into a long work-room, where the singing of the girls delighted and surprised her. It was sunset, and their hymn was --

Softly now the light of day.

Several of the girls were Sunday-school teachers, who had encouraged others to sing at that hour, and it had become a habit.

|Has it made a difference?| the lady inquired.

|There is seldom any quarrelling or coarse joking among them now,| said the superintendent with a smile.

Dr. S.F. Smith's hymn of much the same tone and tenor --

Softly fades the twilight ray
Of the holy Sabbath day,

-- is commonly sung to the tune of |Holley.|

George Hews, an American composer and piano-maker, was born in Massachusetts 1800, and died July 6, 1873. No intelligence of him or his work or former locality is at hand, beyond this brief note in Baptie, |He is believed to have followed his trade in Boston, and written music for some of Mason's earlier books.|



This reproduces in Chandler's translation a song-service in an ancient Latin liturgy (angulare fundamentum).

Christ is our Corner-Stone;
On Him alone we build,
With His true saints alone
The courts of heaven are filled,
On His great love
Our hopes we place
Of present grace
And joys above.

O then with hymns of praise
These hallowed courts shall ring;
Our voices we will raise
The Three-in-One to sing.
And thus proclaim
In joyful song
But loud and long
That glorious Name.

The Rev. John Chandler was born at Witley, Surrey, Eng. June 16, 1806. He took his A.M. degree at Oxford, and entered the ministry of the Church of England, was Vicar of Witley many years, and became well-known for his translations of hymns of the primitive church. Died at Putney, July 1, 1876.


Sebastian Wesley's |Harewood| is plainer and of less compass, but Zundel's |Brooklyn| is more than its rival, both in melody and vivacity.


A hymn of Dr. John Mason Neale --

Endue the creatures with Thy grace
That shall adorn Thy dwelling-place
The beauty of the oak and pine,
The gold and silver, make them Thine.

The heads that guide endue with skill,
The hands that work preserve from ill,
That we who these foundations lay
May raise the top-stone in its day.


|Welton,| by Rev. Caesar Malan -- author of |Hendon,| once familiar to American singers.

Henri Abraham Caesar Malan was born at Geneva, Switzerland, 1787, and educated at Geneva College. Ordained to the ministry of the State church, (Reformed,) he was dismissed for preaching against its formalism and spiritual apathy; but he built a chapel of his own, and became a leader with D'Aubigne, Monod, and others in reviving the purity of the Evangelical faith and laboring for the conversion of souls.

Malan wrote many hymns, and published a large collection, the |Chants de Sion,| for the Evangelical Society and the French Reformed Church. He composed the music of his own hymns. Died at Vandosurre, 1864.


Cases may occur where an exhortation hymn earns a place with dedication hymns.

The charred fragment of a hymn-book leaf hangs in a frame on the auditorium wall of the |New England Church,| Chicago. The former edifice of that church, all the homes of its resident members, and all their business offices except one, were destroyed in the great fire. In the ruins of their sanctuary the only scrap of paper found on which there was a legible word was this bit of a hymn-book leaf with the two first stanzas of Montgomery's hymn,

Daughter of Zion, from the dust,
Exalt thy fallen head;
Again in thy Redeemer trust,
He calls thee from the dead.

Awake, awake! put on thy strength,
Thy beautiful array;
The day of freedom dawns at length,
The Lord's appointed day.

The third verse was not long in coming to every mind --

Rebuild thy walls! thy bounds enlarge!

-- and even without that added word the impoverished congregation evidently enough had received a message from heaven. They took heart of grace, overcame all difficulties, and in good time replaced their ruined Sabbath-home with the noble house in which they worship today.

[Footnote 46: The story is told by Rev. William E. Barton D.D. of Oak Park, Ill.]

If the |New England Church| of Chicago did not sing this hymn at the dedication of their new temple it was for some other reason than lack of gratitude -- not to say reverence.


The very essence of all song-worship pitched on this key-note is the ringing hymn of Watts --

Sweet is the day of sacred rest,
No mortal cares disturb my breast, etc.

-- but it has vanished from the hymnals with its tune. Is it because profane people or thoughtless youth made a travesty of the two next lines --

O may my heart in tune be found
Like David's harp of solemn sound?


Old |Portland| by Abraham Maxim, a fugue tune in F major of the canon style, expressed all the joy that a choir could put into music, though with more sound than skill. The choral is a relic among relics now, but it is a favorite one.

|Sweet is the Light of Sabbath Eve| by Edmeston; Stennett's |Another Six Days' Work is Done,| sung to |Spohr,| the joint tune of Louis Spohr and J.E. Gould; and Doddridge's |Thine Earthly Sabbath, Lord, We Love| retain a feeble hold among some congregations. And Hayward's |Welcome Delightful Morn,| to the impossible tune of |Lischer,| survived unaccountably long in spite of its handicap. But special Sabbath hymns are out of fashion, those classed under that title taking an incidental place under the general head of |Worship.|



This hymn of Josiah Conder, copying the physical metaphors of the 6th of John, is still occasionally used at the Lord's Supper.

Vine of Heaven, Thy blood supplies
This blest cup of sacrifice,
Lord, Thy wounds our healing give,
To Thy Cross we look and live.

The hymn is notable for the felicity with which it combines imagery and reality. Figure and fact are always in sight of each other.

Josiah Conder was born in London, September 17, 1789. He edited the Eclectic Review, and was the author of numerous prose works on historic and religious subjects. Rev. Garrett Horder says that more of his hymns are in common use now than those of any other except Watts and Doddridge. More in proportion to the relative number may be nearer the truth. In his lifetime Conder wrote about sixty hymns. He died Dec.27, 1855.


The tune |Corsica| sometimes sung to the words, though written by the famous Von Gluck, shows no sign of the genius of its author. Born at Weissenwang, near New Markt, Prussia, July 2, 1714, he spent his life in the service of operatic art, and is called |the father of the lyric drama,| but he paid little attention to sacred music. Queen Marie Antoinette was for a while his pupil. Died Nov.25, 1787.

|Wilmot,| (from Von Weber) one of Mason's popular hymn-tune arrangements, is a melody with which the hymn is well acquainted. It has a fireside rhythm which old and young of the same circles take up naturally in song.


Written in October, 1855, by Dr. Horatius Bonar. James Bonar, brother of the poet-preacher, just after the communion for that month, asked him to furnish a hymn for the communion record. It was the church custom to print a memorandum of each service at the Lord's table, with an appropriate hymn attached, and an original one would be thrice welcome. Horatius in a day or two sent this hymn:

Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face,
Here would I touch and handle things unseen
Here grasp with firmer hand th' eternal grace
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.

* * * * *

Too soon we rise; the symbols disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;
The bread and wine remove, but Thou art here
Nearer than ever -- still my Shield and Sun.


|Morecambe| is an anonymous composition printed with the words by the Plymouth Hymnal editors. |Berlin| by Mendelssohn is better. The metre of Bonar's hymn is unusual, and melodies to fit it are not numerous, but for a meditative service it is worth a tune of its own.


The author of this hymn found in the Baptist hymnals, and often sung at the sacramental seasons of that denomination, was the first Hindoo convert to Christianity.

Krishna Pal, a native carpenter, in consequence of an accident, came under the care of Mr. Thomas, a missionary who had been a surgeon in the East Indies and was now an associate worker with William Carey. Mr. Thomas set the man's broken arm, and talked of Jesus to him and the surrounding crowd with so much tact and loving kindness that Krishna Pal was touched. He became a pupil of the missionaries; embraced Christ, and influenced his wife and daughter and his brother to accept his new faith.

He alone, however, dared the bitter persecution of his caste, and presented himself for church-membership. He and Carey's son were baptized in the Ganges by Dr. Carey, Dec.28, 1800, in the presence of the English Governor and an immense concourse of people representing four or five different religions.

Krishna Pal wrote several hymns. The one here noted was translated from the Bengalee by Dr. Marshman.

O thou, my soul, forget no more
The Friend who all thy sorrows bore;
Let every idol be forgot;
But, O my soul, forget him not.

Renounce thy works and ways, with grief,
And fly to this divine relief;
Nor Him forget, who left His throne,
And for thy life gave up His own.

Eternal truth and mercy shine
In Him, and He Himself is thine:
And canst thou then, with sin beset,
Such charms, such matchless charms forget?

Oh, no; till life itself depart,
His name shall cheer and warm my heart;
And lisping this, from earth I'll rise,
And join the chorus of the skies.


There is no scarcity of good long-metre tunes to suit the sentiment of this hymn. More commonly in the Baptist manuals its vocal mate is Bradbury's |Rolland| or the sweet and serious Scotch melody of |Ward,| arranged by Mason. Best of all is |Hursley,| the beautiful Ritter-Monk choral set to |Sun of My Soul.|


Two representative hymns of this class are John Newton's --

While with ceaseless course the sun,

-- and Charles Wesley's --

Come let us anew our journey pursue;

the one a voice at the next year's threshold, the other a song at the open door.

While with ceaseless course the sun
Hasted thro' the former year
Many souls their race have run
Nevermore to meet us here.

* * * * *

As the winged arrow flies
Speedily the mark to find,
As the lightening from the skies
Darts and leaves no trace behind,
Swiftly thus our fleeting days
Bear we down life's rapid stream,
Upward, Lord, our spirits raise;
All below is but a dream.

A grave occasion, whether unexpected or periodical, will force reflection, and so will a grave truth; and when both present themselves at once, the truth needs only commonplace statement. If the statement is in rhyme and measure more attention is secured. Add a tune to it, and the most frivolous will take notice. Newton's hymn sung on the last evening of the year has its opportunity -- and never fails to produce a solemn effect; but it is to the immortal music given to it in Samuel Webbe's |Benevento| that it owes its unique and permanent place. Dykes' |St. Edmund| may be sung in England, but in America it will never replace Webbe's simple and wonderfully impressive choral.

Charles Wesley's hymn is the antipode of Newton's in metre and movement.

Come, let us anew our journey pursue,
Roll round with the year
And never stand still till the Master appear.
His adorable will let us gladly fulfil
And our talents improve
By the patience of hope and the labor of love.

Our life is a dream, our time as a stream
Glides swiftly away,
And the fugitive moment refuses to stay.
The arrow is flown, the moment is gone,
The millennial year,
Rushes on to our view, and eternity's near.

[Illustration: Carl von Weber]

One could scarcely imagine a greater contrast than between this hymn and Newton's. In spite of its eccentric metre one cannot dismiss it as rhythmical jingle, for it is really a sermon shaped into a popular canticle, and the surmise is not a difficult one that he had in mind a secular air that was familiar to the crowd. But the hymn is not one of Wesley's poems. Compilers who object to its lilting measure omit it from their books, but it holds its place in public use, for it carries weighty thoughts in swift sentences.

O that each in the Day of His coming may say,
|I have fought my way through,
I have finished the work Thou didst give me to do.| O that each from the Lord may receive the glad word, |Well and faithfully done,
Enter into my joy, and sit down on my throne.|

For a hundred and fifty years this has been sung in the Methodist watch-meetings, and it will be long before it ceases to be sung -- and reprinted in Methodist, and some Baptist hymnals.

The tune of |Lucas,| named after James Lucas, its composer, is the favorite vehicle of song for the |Watch-hymn.| Like the tune to |O How Happy Are They,| it has the movement of the words and the emphasis of their meaning.

No knowledge of James Lucas is at hand except that he lived in England, where one brief reference gives his birth-date as 1762 and |about 1805| as the birth-date of the tune.


The admirable hymn of Dr. Doddridge may be noted in this division with its equally admirable tune of |Melancthon,| one of the old Lutheran chorals of Germany.

Great God, we sing that mighty hand
By which supported still we stand.
The opening year Thy mercy shows;
Thy mercy crown it till its close!

By day, by night, at home, abroad,
Still we are guarded by our God.

As this last couplet stood -- and ought now to stand -- pious parents teaching the hymn to their children heard them repeat --

By day, by night, at home, abroad,
We are surrounded still with God.

Many are now living whose first impressive sense of the Divine Omnipresence came with that line.



A lyric of benediction, born, apparently, at the divine moment for the need of the great |Society of Christian Endeavor,| and now adopted into the Christian song-service of all lands. The author, Rev. Jeremiah Eames Rankin, D.D., LL.D., was born in Thornton, N.H., Jan.2, 1828. He was graduated at Middlebury College, Vt., in 1848, and labored as a Congregational pastor more than thirty years. For thirteen years he was President of Howard University, Washington, D.C. Besides the |Parting Hymn| he wrote The Auld Scotch Mither, Ingleside Rhymes, Hymns pro Patria, and various practical works and religious essays. Died 1904.


As in a thousand other partnerships of hymnist and musician, Dr. Rankin was fortunate in his composer. The tune is a symphony of hearts -- subdued at first, but breaking into a chorus strong with the uplift of hope. It is a farewell with a spiritual thrill in it.

Its author, William Gould Tomer, was born in Finesville, Warren Co., N.J., October 5, 1832; died in Phillipsburg, N.J., Sept.26, 1896. He was a soldier in the Civil War and a writer of good ability as well as a composer. For some time he was editor of the High Bridge Gazette, and music with him was an avocation rather than a profession. He wrote the melody to Dr. Rankin's hymn in 1880, Prof. J.W. Bischoff supplying the harmony, and the tune was first published in Gospel Bells the same year.


The style of singing at funerals, as well as the character of the hymns, has greatly changed -- if, indeed, music continues to be a part of the service, as frequently, in ordinary cases, it is not. |China| with its comforting words -- and terrifying chords -- is forever obsolete, and not only that, but Dr. Muhlenberg's, |I Would Not Live Alway,| with its sadly sentimental tune of |Frederick,| has passed out of common use. Anna Steele's |So Fades the Lovely, Blooming Flower,| on the death of a child, is occasionally heard, and now and then Dr. S.F. Smith's, |Sister, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely,| (with its gentle air of |Mt. Vernon,|) on the death of a young lady. Standard hymns like Watts', |Unveil Thy Bosom, Faithful Tomb,| to the slow, tender melody of the |Dead March,| (from Handel's oratorio of |Saul|) and Montgomery's |Servant of God, Well Done,| to |Olmutz,| or Woodbury's |Forever with the Lord,| still retain their prestige, the music of the former being played on steeple-chimes on some burial occasions in cities, during the procession --

Nor pain nor grief nor anxious fear
Invade thy bounds; no mortal woes
Can reach the peaceful sleeper here
While angels watch the soft repose.

The latter hymn (Montgomery's) is biographical -- as described on page 301 --

Servant of God, well done;
Rest from thy loved employ;
The battle fought, the victory won,
Enter thy Master's joy.

Only five stanzas of this long poem are now in use.

The exquisite elegy of Montgomery, entitled |The Grave,| --

There is a calm for those who weep,
A rest for weary mortals found
They softly lie and sweetly sleep
Low in the ground.

-- is by no means discontinued on funeral occasions, nor Margaret Mackay's beloved hymn, --

Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep,

-- melodized in Bradbury's |Rest.|

Mrs. Margaret Mackay was born in 1801, the daughter of Capt. Robert Mackay of Hedgefield, Inverness, and wife of a major of the same name. She was the author of several prose works and Lays of Leisure Hours, containing seventy-two original hymns and poems, of which |Asleep in Jesus| is one. She died in 1887.


(Mein Jesu, wie du willst.)

This sweet hymn for mourners, known to us here in Jane Borthwick's translation, was written by Benjamin Schmolke (or Schmolk) late in the 17th century. He was born at Brauchitzchdorf, in Silesia, Dec.21, 1672, and received his education at the Labau Gymnasium and Leipsic University. A sermon preached while a youth, for his father, a Lutheran pastor, showed such remarkable promise that a wealthy man paid the expenses of his education for the ministry. He was ordained and settled as pastor of the Free Church at Schweidnitz, Silesia, in which charge he continued from 1701 till his death.

Schmolke was the most popular hymn-writer of his time, author of some nine hundred church pieces, besides many for special occasions. Withal he was a man of exalted piety and a pastor of rare wisdom and influence.

His death, of paralysis, occurred on the anniversary of his wedding, Feb.12, 1737.

My Jesus, as Thou wilt,
Oh may Thy will be mine!
Into Thy hand of love
I would my all resign.
Thro' sorrow or thro' joy
Conduct me as Thine own,
And help me still to say,
My Lord, Thy will be done.

The last line is the refrain of the hymn of four eight-line stanzas.


|Sussex,| by Joseph Barnby, a plain-song with a fine harmony, is good congregational music for the hymn.

But |Jewett,| one of Carl Maria Von Weber's exquisite flights of song, is like no other in its intimate interpretation of the prayerful words. We hear Luther's |bird in the heart| singing softly in every inflection of the tender melody as it glides on. The tune, arranged by Joseph Holbrook, is from an opera -- the overture to Weber's Der Freischutz -- but one feels that the gentle musician when he wrote it must have caught an inspiration of divine trust and peace. The wish among the last words he uttered when dying in London of slow disease was, |Let me go back to my own (home), and then God's will be done.| That wish and the sentiment of Schmolke's hymn belong to each other, for they end in the same way.

My Jesus, as Thou wilt:
All shall be well for me;
Each changing future scene
I gladly trust with Thee.
Straight to my home above
I travel calmly on,
And sing in life or death
My Lord, Thy will be done.


In later years, when funeral music is desired, the employment of a male quartette has become a favorite custom. Of the selections sung in this manner few are more suitable or more generally welcomed than the tender and trustful hymn of Sir John Bowring, rendered sometimes in Dr. Dykes' |Almsgiving,| but better in the less-known but more flexible tune composed by Howard M. Dow --

I cannot always trace the way
Where Thou, Almighty One, dost move,
But I can always, always say
That God is love.

When fear her chilling mantle flings
O'er earth, my soul to heaven above
As to her native home upsprings,
For God is love.

When mystery clouds my darkened path,
I'll check my dread, my doubts reprove;
In this my soul sweet comfort hath
That God is love.

Yes, God is love. A thought like this
Can every gloomy thought remove,
And turn all tears, all woes to bliss
For God is love.

The first line of the hymn was originally, |'Tis seldom I can trace the way.|

Howard M. Dow has been many years a resident of Boston, and organist of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons at the Tremont St. (Masonic) Temple.


Time was when hymns were sung at weddings, though in America the practice was never universal. Marriage, among Protestants, is not one of the sacraments, and no masses are chanted for it by ecclesiastical ordinance. The question of music at private marriages depends on convenience, vocal or instrumental equipment, and the general drift of the occasion. At public weddings the organ's duty is the |Wedding March.|

To revive a fashion of singing at home marriages would be considered an oddity -- and, where civil marriages are legal, a superfluity -- but in the religious ceremony, just after the prayer that follows the completion of the nuptial formula, it will occur to some that a hymn would |tide over| a proverbially awkward moment. Even good, quaint old John Berridge's lines would happily relieve the embarrassment -- besides reminding the more thoughtless that a wedding is not a mere piece of social fun --

Since Jesus truly did appear
To grace a marriage feast
O Lord, we ask Thy presence here
To make a wedding guest.

Upon the bridal pair look down
Who now have plighted hands;
Their union with Thy favor crown
And bless the nuptial bands

* * * * *

In purest love these souls unite
That they with Christian care
May make domestic burdens light
By taking each a share.

Tune, |Lanesboro,| Mason.

A wedding hymn of more poetic beauty is the one written by Miss Dorothy Bloomfield (now Mrs. Gurney), born 1858, for her sister's marriage in 1883.

O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
Lowly we kneel in prayer before Thy throne
That their's may be a love which knows no ending
Whom Thou forevermore dost join in one.

O perfect Life, be Thou their first assurance
Of tender charity and steadfast faith,
Of patient hope and quiet, brave endurance,
With childlike trust that fears nor pain nor death.

Grant them the joy which brightens earthly sorrow,
Grant them the peace which calms all earthly strife, And to their day the glorious unknown morrow
That dawns upon eternal love and life.

Tune by Joseph Barnby, |O Perfect Love.|



Thomas Olivers begins one of his hymns with this line. The hymn is a Judgment-day lyric of rude strength and once in current use, but now rarely printed. The |Lo He Comes,| here specially noted, is the production of John Cennick, the Moravian.

Lo! He comes with clouds descending
Once for favored sinners slain,
Thousand thousand saints attending
Swell the triumph of His train.
God appears on earth to reign.

* * * * *

Yea, amen; let all adore Thee
High on Thy eternal throne.
Saviour, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for thine own;
O come quickly;
Hallelujah! Come, Lord, come.


Various composers have written music to this universal hymn, but none has given it a choral that it can claim as peculiarly its own. |Brest,| Lowell Mason's plain-song, has a limited range, and runs low on the staff, but its solemn chords are musical and commanding. As much can be said of the tunes of Dr. Dykes and Samuel Webbe, which have more variety. Those who feel that the hymn calls for a more ornate melody will prefer Madan's |Helmsley.|


The great Southampton bard who wrote |Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood| was quick to kindle at every reminder of Fruition Day.

Lo! what a glorious sight appears
To our believing eyes!
The earth and seas are passed away,
And the old rolling skies.
From the third heaven, where God resides,
That holy, happy place,
The New Jerusalem comes down,
Adorned with shining grace.

This hymn of Watts' sings one of his most exalted visions. It has been dear for two hundred years to every Christian soul throbbing with millennial thoughts and wishful of the day when --

The God of glory down to men
Removes His best abode,

-- and when --

His own kind hand shall wipe the tears
From every weeping eye,
And pains and groans, and griefs and fears,
And death itself shall die,

-- and the yearning cry of the last stanza, when the vision fades, has been the household ? [A] of myriads of burdened and sorrowing saints --

How long, dear Saviour, O how long
Shall this bright hour delay?
Fly swifter round ye wheels of Time,
And bring the welcome day!

[Footnote A: Transcriber's note -- This question mark is in the original. It is possibly a compositor's query which the author missed when correcting the proofs. The missing text could be |word|.]


By right of long appropriation both |Northfield| and |New Jerusalem| own a near relationship to these glorious verses. Ingalls, one of the constellation of early Puritan psalmodists, to which Billings and Swan belonged, evidently loved the hymn, and composed his |New Jerusalem| to the verse, |From the third heaven,| and his |Northfield| to |How long, dear Saviour.| The former is now sung only as a reminiscence of the music of the past, at church festivals, charity fairs and entertainments of similar design, but the action and hearty joy in it always evoke sympathetic applause. |Northfield| is still in occasional use, and it is a jewel of melody, however irretrievably out of fashion. Its union to that immortal stanza, if no other reason, seems likely to insure its permanent place in the lists of sacred song.

John Cole's |Annapolis,| still found in a few hymnals with these words, is a little too late to be called a contemporary piece, but there are some reminders of Ingalls' |New Jerusalem| in its style and vigor, and it really partakes the flavor of the old New England church music.

Jeremiah Ingalls was born in Andover, Mass., March 1, 1764. A natural fondness for music increased with his years, but opportunities to educate it were few and far between, and he seemed like to become no more than a fairly good bass-viol player in the village choir. But his determination carried him higher, and in time his self-taught talent qualified him for a singing-school master, and for many years he travelled through Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, training the raw vocal material in the country towns, and organizing choirs.

Between his thirtieth and fortieth years, he composed a number of tunes, and, in 1804 published a two hundred page collection of his own and others' music, which he called the Christian Harmony.

His home was for some time in Newberry, Vt., but he subsequently lived at Rochester and at Hancock in the same state.

Among the traditions of him is this anecdote of the origin of his famous tune |Northfield,| which may indicate something of his temper and religious habit. During his travels as a singing-school teacher he stopped at a tavern in the town of Northfield and ordered his dinner. It was very slow in coming, but the inevitable |how long?| that formulated itself in his hungry thoughts, instead of sharpening into profane complaint, fell into the rhythm of Watts' sacred line -- and the tune came with it. To call it |Northfield| was natural enough; the place where its melody first beguiled him from his bodily wants to a dream of the final Fruition Day.

Ingalls died in Hancock, Vt., April 6, 1828.

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