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» Ship of Fools   » Special interest discussion   » Ecclesiantics   » Do you recognise this hymn?

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Do you recognise this hymn?
Offeiriad

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In one of his books, the writer John Julius Norwich cites a verse from a hymn he says is in the 'English Church Hymnal', a book I don't recognise. The verse is a hoot, but is it genuine? Can anybody point to the hymn of which this is supposedly part? Enlightenment, please!

Worms, strike your harp! Your voices tune
To sing your Maker's praise;
Leap from the earth with pious mirth
And trumpet forth your lays!

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mr cheesy
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Looks like it also appears in the Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1941).

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arse

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Bishops Finger
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It's mentioned in this article from New Directions, but with no indication as to provenance.

As the author of the article says, worms are portrayed much more positively in Psalm 148!

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Enoch
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I don't recall ever encountering it, and suspect it might be a joke example. However, if it does exist, it's Common Metre and the style would suggest a source in eighteenth century dissent.

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Bishops Finger
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Indeed, and to a nice rumbustious tune played on bass-viol, clarinet, serpent etc.!

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Brenda Clough
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What are the worms striking their harps -with-? Perhaps two or three cooperate in the playing of it, a couple to hold the harp upright, another to finger the strings, and a fourth to actually strike them.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
What are the worms striking their harps -with-?

Much like this snake birthday card, which I've seen in stores.

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

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Bishops Finger
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The answer, obviously, is blu-tak....

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Nick Tamen

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It doesn’t show up at hymnary.org. And interestingly, when I googled the first line of the quoted verse, this thread was the only hit.

BTW, hymnary.org shows 2 “worm hymns” by Charles Wesley: Say Then, Ye Worms of Earth and Ye Worms of Earth, Arise.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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mr cheesy
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To be fair though hymnary.org hasn't got all of the hymns online from the (IIRC the date) 1906 English Hymnal.

[ 22. February 2018, 12:08: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Bishops Finger
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It certainly doesn't sound like an original English Hymnal effort, though EH does have some gems...

No, this seems more like the sort of thing sung with vigour in a little white-washed chapel in Skittle Yard, or Ranters Alley, and probably written by the pastor.

Think Lantern Yard, as portrayed in George Eliot's Silas Marner.

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Baptist Trainfan
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... with afore-mentioned rumbustious tune etc.

Sounds like rustic 18th-century Nonconformity to me. Or could it be Isaac Watts?

[ 22. February 2018, 16:42: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Bishops Finger
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Isaac Watts? Could be - or perhaps an early John (or Charles) Wesley?

Now I come to think of it, would the rumbustious tune, with bass-viol, clar'net, sarpint etc., all complete, and got up regardless, be typical of 18thC Conventickles? C of E, yes, as per Hardy...

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Aravis
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Tangent: I shall go and find my extremely battered copy of Richard Scarry's "What do people do all day?" and see if the wonderful character Lowly Worm ever played a musical instrument.
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Brenda Clough
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I clearly remember Lowly Worm driving a car, so he's very able for a invertebrate.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Enoch
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If it was by Isaac Watts, it's very unlikely that a search of hymnary.org wouldn't pick it up.

It's also less likely to be of CofE origin since until about 1815, the CofE only allowed the singing of metrical psalms and the small number of hymns that were printed at the back of either Sternhold & Hopkins or Tate & Brady. If it is genuine and was sung in the CofE, it would either have been written after then, or, more likely, had been adopted from another source.

It could be genuine, but I still suspect it of being a spoof, though quite a good one, and possibly quite an old one.

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mr cheesy
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It does sound like a spoof. I'm still wondering about the first line; either worms strike your harps or worm strike your harp would still scan.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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I've been able to read an extract from the Lutheran hymnal I mentioned above. It does repeat these lines, but only within the context of a discussion about "worm hymns" in particular the famous Isaac Watts one and gives no indication where they got it from. I'm wondering if they were just having a bit of a laugh.

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arse

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Enoch
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There's another legendary one, which I don't believe exists, from the same era called 'the Spinster's Prayer'. It's alleged to have a rousing fuguing soprano line,

"Give me a man -
Give me a man -
Give me a mansion in the sky".

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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teddybear
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
There's another legendary one, which I don't believe exists, from the same era called 'the Spinster's Prayer'. It's alleged to have a rousing fuguing soprano line,

"Give me a man -
Give me a man -
Give me a mansion in the sky".

And for the Catholics, this one has been around for ages: Saint Anne, Saint Anne, find me a man as fast as you can!
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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Indeed, and to a nice rumbustious tune played on bass-viol, clarinet, serpent etc.!

IJ

I wish I could get the lyrics to the full hymn, as I am in the midst of revising my funeral arrangements, and this would make a nice offertory hymn.
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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
There's another legendary one, which I don't believe exists, from the same era called 'the Spinster's Prayer'. It's alleged to have a rousing fuguing soprano line,

"Give me a man -
Give me a man -
Give me a mansion in the sky".

like 'Catch the flee...Catch the flee...Catch the fleeting hour.

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My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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aliehs
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The rambunctious gallery hymns : sung by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band? "Sing lustily and with good courage" is the name of the CD I have.

But the worms aren't there in any lyrics.

Maybe the worms are in the woodwork of the harps?

Or a precursor of Wormtongue?[C.S. Lewis]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by aliehs:
The rambunctious gallery hymns : sung by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band? "Sing lustily and with good courage" is the name of the CD I have.

Why haven't I got that? An omission to be rectified!
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Jengie jon

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This was a side comment recalled from a discussion on the altering hymns to gender inclusive language. That is that many 18th century hymns contained 'worm' taking from Psalm 22:6. That is not part of contemporary spirituality and has not been for a long time so people changed the hymn words rather than stop singing them.

C.S. Lewis' use almost certainly stems from the alternative use of 'worm' to mean dragon, snake or serpent.

Jengie

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Back to my blog

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Baptist Trainfan
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The "O for a man ..." trophe was certainly known in America by 1864: see p.33 of this "erudite" volume (I'm afraid that the language is patronising and quite possibly recist).
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Bishops Finger
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On a slight, but related tangent, J. R. R. Tolkien also referred to dragons as 'worms'. His little-known short story Farmer Giles of Ham has (IIRC - my copy is not immediately to hand) a certain dragon, or worm, in a starring role.

Tolkien was, of course, as enny fule kno, a good friend and contemporary of C. S. Lewis....

I'm afraid we're so far away these days from a Serious Sense of Sin that these vermicular hymns are a source of amusement, rather than of repentance.

[Help]

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
On a slight, but related tangent, J. R. R. Tolkien also referred to dragons as 'worms'. His little-known short story Farmer Giles of Ham has (IIRC - my copy is not immediately to hand) a certain dragon, or worm, in a starring role.

Wyrm was an Old English word that could mean snake, serpent, dragon or earthworm. When Latin-derived words came in for serpents and dragons, and as another Old English-derived word became popular as "snake," the meaning of "worm" became limited to earthworms and their ilk.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Cameron PM
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I pictured the Vestry behind David, master of the choir.

A Prozac dream, nonetheless.

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Your call.

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