Archive for the ‘Handbook to The Hymnal (1935)’ Tag

Feast of Henry Hart Milman (September 24)   1 comment

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Above:  St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Between 1910 and 1920

Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-73191

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HENRY HART MILMAN (FEBRUARY 10, 1791-SEPTEMBER 24, 1868)

Anglican Dean, Translator, Historian, Theologian, and Hymn Writer

Henry Hart Milman was a scholar and a clergyman.  Some accused him of being to much a rationalist and a scholar, but his hymn texts, some of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog, reveal his piety well.

Our saint, son of Sir Francis Milman, physician to King George III (reigned 1760-1820), pursued a literary, historical, and theological path.  Milman, educated at Greenwich then Eton then Brasenose College, Oxford, won the Newdigate Prize for his Belvidere Apollo and became a fellow of the college.  Our saint, after his brilliant career as a student at Oxford, took Anglican Holy Orders.  He served at St. Mary’s, Reading (1818-1821), as a Professor at Oxford (1821-1831, and as Bampton Lecturer in 1827), as Canon of Westminster and Rector of St. Margaret’s (1835-1849), and as Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London (1849-1868).

The man was multi-talented.  He wrote dramas, including the acclaimed Fazio.  Our saint, among the earliest Western translators of texts from the Indian subcontinent, published Nala and Damayanti, and Other Poems (1835).  His Poetical Works filled three volumes.  Our saint edited Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) then published the Life of Gibbon the following year.  And Milman, a historian, wrote multi-volume works such as History of the Jews (1830), History of Christianity from the Birth of Christ to the Abolition of Paganism in the Roman Empire (1840), and History of Latin Christianity to the Pontificate of Nicholas V (1856).  I have found the extend of his works available at archive.org impressive, thus I encourage you, O reader, to visit that website and find all the Milman texts your intellect might crave.

Milman also wrote thirteen hymns at the suggestion of his good friend, Bishop Reginald Heber.  These texts appeared in Heber’s posthumous Hymns Adapted to the Weekly Service of the Year (1827).  (The initials H.M.M. appear at the top of Milman’s hymns in the book.)  Among his greatest hymns was “Ride On, Ride On in Majesty,” a Palm Sunday text.

Milman was also a theological pioneer of sorts. His History of the Jews (1830), which was sympathetic to them, caused a great controversy, which led to official censure by ecclesiastical authorities and a temporary halt in the publication of the volumes.  (Revised editions followed in time.)  The cause of the uproar was Milman’s introduction of rationalistic German theology into England–at least what the Presbyterian Handbook to the Hymnal (1935) called

the first decisive inroad of German theology into England.

–page 164

In plain English, Milman minimized the miraculous and sought, with academic rigor, natural explanations.  That was fine, for God does work through nature, does God not?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 9, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENJAMIN SCHMOLCK, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER, ENGLISH POET AND FEMINIST

THE FEAST OF HANNAH GRIER COOME, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERHOOD OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE

THE FEAST OF JOHN HOOPER, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Henry Hart Milman and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Alfred Tennyson (August 5)   2 comments

Tennyson

Image in the Public Domain

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ALFRED TENNYSON (AUGUST 6, 1809-OCTOBER 6, 1892)

English Poet

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For finished and exquisite artistry he had no peer among his contemporaries.  His mind moved habitually on high levels; his teaching was always on what ennobles and exalts; and though his sensitive spirit was acutely alive to to the questionings and spiritual uncertainties of his age, which his work faithfully reflects, his faith in Divine goodness and guidance and in the life beyond gave comfort and strength to his generation.

–James Moffatt, ed. Handbook to the Church Hymnary (London, England, UK:  Oxford University Press, 1927), pages 516 and 517

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Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), perhaps the most famous English poet of the Victorian age, was son of George Clayton Tennyson, an Anglican priest.  Our saint published is first volume of poetry with his brother Charles; Poems by Two Brothers (1827) debuted before Tennyson started his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge (1828).  While a student there he published a solo volume, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830).  Many great poems followed.  Our saint became the national Poet Laureate in 1850.  In 1884 he became a peer, the Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Farringford.  He died in 1892, interred at Westminster Abbey.

Tennyson, who never wrote hymns per se, did compose texts from which others excerpted hymns.  Here is one example:

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar

When I put out to sea,

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But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

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Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell

When I embark;

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For, though from out our bourne of time and place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have reached the bar.

And here is another example:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light;

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

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Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

For those that here we see no more;

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

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Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrow lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

I found these texts and another one (which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog) in The Hymnal (1933), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., one of the better hymnbooks–certainly one classier ones–of the previous century.  And I found another Tennyson in Hymns for the Family of God (1976), one of the hymnals on the other end of the spectrum from classy:

More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of.

Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friends,

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

That text is a rare bright spot of quality in that hymnal, populated by a combination of gold and dross–mostly the latter.

This is a post about Tennyson, however, so I return to him.  Our saint, a man of deep piety and great literary ability, used his talents to glorify God and to beautify the world–to exalt the noble and the lovey.  He set the bar very high.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Alfred Tennyson

and all those who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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Feast of Clifford Bax (July 13)   Leave a comment

Clifford_Bax

Image in the Public Domain

CLIFFORD BAX (JULY 13, 1886-NOVEMBER 18, 1962)

Poet, Playwright, and Hymn Writer

Clifford Bax (1886-1962), brother of composer Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953), was born in London, England.  Our saint traveled when young, studying art in Germany, Belgium, and Italy, before turning to literature and becoming a skilled poet and playwright.  Some of his published works were:

  1. Twenty Chinese Poems (1910);
  2. Poems Dramatic and Lyrical (1911);
  3. Square Pegs:  A Rhymed Fantasy for Two Girls (1920);
  4. A House of Words (1920);
  5. Antique Pageantry (1921):
  6. The Traveller’s Tale (1921);
  7. Up Stream:  A Drama in Three Acts (1922);
  8. Polite Satires (1922); and
  9. Island Far (1925), a book of recollections.

The text which brought Bax to my attention was a hymn, “Turn Back, O Man, Forswear Thy Foolish Ways” (1916), written during World War I.  That conflict, unfortunately, was not the “war to end all wars.”  No, President Woodrow Wilson’s prophesy from 1919 proved correct; a much worse global war followed it.  And World War I destroyed empires, changed the map of Europe and parts of Asia, claimed the lives of many people, and devastated a generation.  Bax’s hymn is a profound text, one which Godspell (1971) bastardizes and makes frivolous.  I prefer the Gustav Holst music:

Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.

Old now is earth, and none may count her days,

Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,

Still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim–

“Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.”

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Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.

Age after age their tragic empires rise,

Built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:

Would not but wake from out his haunted sleep,

Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.

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Earth shall be fair, and all her people are:

Nor till that hour shall God’s whole will be done.

Now, even now, once more from earth to sky,

Peals forth in joy man’s old, undaunted cry–

“Earth shall be fair, and all her fold be one!”

The Handbook to The Hymnal (1935), companion volume to The Hymnal (1933), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., said:

In spite of the flame of reason which crowns the brow of man, in spite of the lessons of history, he still goes forth in his foolish ways, still fails to hear the gentle voice of God which speaks in his bosom….This call to repentance rises with holy indignation from the soul of the poet, who sees what ruin man’s folly and wrath have wrought, and sees as well what good will and brotherly kindness might do.

–pages 438 and 439

Or maybe we should dress in tacky clothing and sing and dance atop the World Trade Center.  O wait, those towers do not exist anymore.  Agents of hatred destroyed them.  No, sober spirituality, not frivolity, fits that text well.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYNCLETIA OF ALEXANDRIA, DESERT MOTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADELARD OF CORBIE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA, DEACON AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE PALLOTINES

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Clifford Bax and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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