Archive for the ‘The Hymnal 1982 (1985)’ Tag

Feast of Gerard Moultrie (September 17)   1 comment

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Above:  From the School, Shrewsbury, England, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08834

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GERARD MOULTRIE (SEPTEMBER 19, 1829-APRIL 25, 1885)

Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns

Gerard Moultrie, so far as I knew before beginning work on this post, was the man who translated “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” which I have sung many times from The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopalian, 1985), from the Liturgy of Saint James in 1864.  (Aside:  Yes, the copyright date in The Hymnal 1982 is 1985.  The General Convention of 1982 approved the texts, hence the book’s name.  See also David Sumner, The Episcopal Church’s History, 1945-1985 (1987), pages 117-118).  That was the almost all of my knowledge of Gerard Moultrie.  It was accurate yet only a beginning.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,

And with fear and trembling stand;

Ponder nothing earthly-minded,

For with blessing in His hand,

Christ our God to earth descendeth,

Our full homage to demand.

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King of kings, yet born of Mary,

As of old on earth He stood,

Lord of lords, in human vesture–

In the body and the blood–

He will give to all the faithful

His own self for heavenly food.

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Rank on rank the host of heaven

Spreads its vanguard on the way,

As the Light of light descendeth

From the realms of endless day,

That the powers of hell may vanish

As the darkness clears away.

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At His feet the six-winged seraph;

Cherubim, with sleepless eye,

Veil their faces to the presence,

As with ceaseless voice they cry,

Alleluia, Alleluia,

Alleluia, Lord Most High!

That text is obviously eucharistic.  To be precise, it occurs as the server carries the bread and wine to the high altar so the priest can bless them.  One may find the text in many contemporary hymnals and in Lyra Eucharistica (1864).

Here are other interesting details:  Gerard Moultrie was a descendant of a South Carolina Loyalist (his great-grandfather) who moved to England at the outbreak of the U.S. War for Independence.  Our saint’s great-granduncle, however, was William Moultrie (1730-1805), a General in the Continental Army then Governor of South Carolina (1785-1787 and 1792-1794). As I tell my U.S. History I students, the U.S. War for Independence was also a civil war.  

Moultrie, Georgia, where I attended public school from 1986 to 1989, takes its name from General Moultrie.

Our saint was born at the rectory, Rugby, England, in 1829.  He, educated at Rugby School then at Exeter College, Oxford (B.A., 1851; M.A., 1856), took Anglican Holy Orders.  He held the following appointments:

  1. Chaplain to Shrewsbury School and to the Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry (1855-1859);
  2. Curate at Brinfield, Berkshire (1860-1864);
  3. Chaplain to the Donative of Barrow Gurney, Bristol (1864-1869);
  4. Vicar of Southleigh (1869-1885); and
  5. Warden of St. James’s College, Southleigh (1873-1885).

Here is another Moultrie translation of a Christian text of antiquity:

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night,

And blest is he whose loins are gift, whose lamp is burning bright;

But woe to that dull servant  whom the Master shall surprise

With lamp untrimmed, unburning, and with slumber in his eyes.

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Do thou, my soul, beware, beware lest thou in sleep sink down,

Lest thou be given o’er to death, and lose the golden crown;

But see that thou be sober, with a watchful eye, and thus

Cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy God, have mercy upon us!”

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That day, the day of fear, shall come:  my soul, slack not thy toil,

But light thy lamp, and feed it well, and make it bright with oil;

Who knowest not how soon may sound the cry at eventide,

“Behold, the Bridegroom comes!  Arise!  Go forth to meet the Bride!”

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Beware, my soul!  take then good heed lest thou in slumber lie,

And, like the five, remain without, and knock, and vainly cry;

But watch, and bear thy lamp undimmed, and Christ shall gird thee on

His own bright wedding-robe of light,–the glory of the Son.

Moultrie wrote at least thirty-eight hymns and translated others from Greek, Latin, and German.  One of his original hymns was:

Refrain:  

We march, we march to victory,

With the cross of the Lord before us,

With his loving eye looking down from the sky,

And his holy arm spread o’er us, his holy arm spread o’er us.

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We come on the might of the Lord of light,

With armor bright to meet him;

And we put to flight the armies of night,

That the sons of the day may greet him,

The sons of the day may greet him.

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Refrain

Our sword is the Spirit of God on high,

Our helmet is his salvation,

Our banner, the Cross of Calvary,

Our watchword the Incarnation,

Our watchword, the Incarnation.

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Refrain

And the choir of angels with song awaits

Our march to the golden Zion,

For our Captain has broken the brazen gates,

And burst the bars of iron,

And burst the bars of iron.

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Refrain

Then onward we march, our arms to prove,

With the banner of Christ before us,

With his eye of love looking down from above,

And his holy arm spread o’er us,

His holy arm spread o’er us.

A partial publication history of our saint follows:

  1. Hymns from the Post Reformation Editions (1864);
  2. The Primer Set Forth at Large for the Use of the Faithful (1864);
  3. The Devout Communicant (1867);
  4. Hymns and Lyrics for the Seasons and Saints’ Days of the Church (1867);
  5. The Espousals of St. Dorothea and Other Verses (1870);
  6. Six Years’ Work at Southleigh (1875); and
  7. Cantica Sanctorum, or, Hymns for the Black Letter Saints’ Days in the English and Scottish Calendars (1880).

I have added another text, “There Came Three Kings, Ere Break of Day,” to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Gerard Moultrie was a much more interesting (in a good way) man than I used to suspect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 8, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPHINE BAKHITA, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN OF MALTA AND FELIX OF VALOIS, FOUNDERS OF THE ORDER OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY

THE FEAST OF SAINT JEROME EMILIANI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF WINFIELD SCOTT HANCOCK, U.S. ARMY GENERAL

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Gerard Moultrie 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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