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Source: (consider it) Thread: 'Songs of Praise' (ed. Dearmer)
Oxonian Ecclesiastic
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I am interested in the use of the 1920s hymn book Songs of Praise, edited by Percy Dearmer. I am aware that it was commonly used in schools, but I am more interested in its use in churches.

I have only once sung from it in church, a few years ago, somewhere in the North Riding. My understanding is that it was considered the Low Church book; but it seems very liberal, and I always thought Low Churches used The Church Hymnal for the Christian Year . So - who used Songs of Praise ?

I am also aware that Dearmer hoped it would be oecumenical. Am I right in thinking it only caught on in schools and in (some) Anglican churches, or were their Non-Conformists who had it in their pews?

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venbede
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My mother's grammar school (later a direct grant and now independent) used it in the 30s. I've never seen it in church, and I can't imagine it going down in noncon churches of a remotely evangelical character.

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Metapelagius
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My impression is that SoP was intended to be 'non-denominational'. However I should have thought the existence of A&M, the English Hymnal, and specific denominational hymnaries for non-Anglican places would have limited its appeal as a book used in any churches. In school, yes. Both spouse and self, at a total of three secondary schools in different parts of the country - we both had to buy our own copies, they weren't issued by the school. My prep school however used the 779 hymn version of A&M, possibly a state/independent difference. So schools accounted for the bulk of the sales, I suspect.

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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(S)pike couchant
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Many schools also used the Public School Hymn Book (1919, revised at least once in 1949) and its successor, Hymns for Church and School (1965). I'm not able to comment on the differences between these books.

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dj_ordinaire
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As far as I can see, the answer to the question 'Who used it?' is 'not many people', with the possible exception of schools. My understanding is that it attempted to move away from any theology that would be forbidding to unchurched or nominally churched Anglicans and other protestants. I have seen copies of it, including one bound together with an EH which can hardly have found much use!

The index can be found here if anyone is curious.

As a further aside, Wikipedia states that its expanded version was the first to include 'Morning Has Broken', which I didn't know... and I'd be very interested to know what tune this was sung to at the time!

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
As far as I can see, the answer to the question 'Who used it?' is 'not many people', with the possible exception of schools. My understanding is that it attempted to move away from any theology that would be forbidding to unchurched or nominally churched Anglicans and other protestants. I have seen copies of it, including one bound together with an EH which can hardly have found much use!

The index can be found here if anyone is curious.

As a further aside, Wikipedia states that its expanded version was the first to include 'Morning Has Broken', which I didn't know... and I'd be very interested to know what tune this was sung to at the time!

I have read somewhere that 'Morning has broken' was written to fit the tune Bunessan, which had previously been linked to the Gaelic poem/hymn Leanabh an àigh - 'Child in the manger' being the English version, as included in the revised edition of the Church Hymnary, published around the same time as SoP. Why? perhaps because the musical editors thought that the tune could be then used more widely than just at Christmas?

Percy D. also did a certain amount of fiddling with words, particularly in his curious re-writing of 'Let all mortal flesh', arguably ruining it by doing away with its eucharistic significance.

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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Edgeman
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quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
My understanding is that it attempted to move away from any theology that would be forbidding to unchurched or nominally churched Anglicans and other protestants.

I don't know, some of the Eucharistic hymns seem pretty non-protestant.

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Enoch
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This takes me back. I don't think I've seen that hymn book since 1961. Generally, yes, it was used in schools, not churches.

I seem to remember it was criticised because the compilers expurgated it of doctrines they did not approve of. I suspect it was a bit lowest common denominator, worthy but rather Pelagian in the manner of those times. At the age I was then, I wouldn't have been able to tell.

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ElaineC
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We used it at grammar school in the sixties.

This thread has brought back memorires of having to embroider a cover for it in our first year domestic science classes.

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Galloping Granny
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I'm pretty sure that the smallish light blue book we had at (Presbyterian) boarding school in the 40s was called Songs of Praise. What hymns we sang I can't remember (of course!) but I don't think they were any different from the Church Hymnary fare that I was accustomed to for the next few decades.

GG

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by ElaineC:
We used it at grammar school in the sixties.

Ditto - and it was hard for us adolescents to stifle giggles at the words 'for the sailors tossing in the deep blue seas'. (In 'Now the day is over')

[ 28. August 2012, 15:57: Message edited by: leo ]

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Offeiriad

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Both my OH and I suffered SoP in our respective grammar schools, but I do have dim memories of also seeing it around in one or two low/liberal churches in rural North Kent. It was musically excellent but theologically bizarre, with one or two hymns that can only be described as atheist ('These things shall be' as the most obvious).

A fair number of hymns would now be at home in the 'crappy hymns' thread. 'From out of the wood did a cuckoo fly; cuckoo! etc' was inflicted on my OH at her school, but our headmaster wisely concluded that the young men of our school would not sing this hymn with sufficient gravitas.

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american piskie
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quote:
Originally posted by Oxonian Ecclesiastic:
I am interested in the use of the 1920s hymn book Songs of Praise, edited by Percy Dearmer. I am aware that it was commonly used in schools, but I am more interested in its use in churches.

I have only once sung from it in church, a few years ago, somewhere in the North Riding. My understanding is that it was considered the Low Church book; but it seems very liberal, and I always thought Low Churches used The Church Hymnal for the Christian Year . So - who used Songs of Praise ?

I am also aware that Dearmer hoped it would be oecumenical. Am I right in thinking it only caught on in schools and in (some) Anglican churches, or were their Non-Conformists who had it in their pews?

The preface to the Enlarged Edition claimed that the hymnal had been taken up by many major Education Authorities --- and that a daily service book for schools had been built around it. Quite a nice little earner, I guess.

Dearmer's ambition seems to me to be on the optimistic side: "a full expression of that faith which is common to the English-speaking peoples of the British Commonwealth and the United States of America today." But I think that that clarifies the oicume he had in mind.

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venbede
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I can remember my mother singing "Out of a wood did a cuckoo fly" at home which she clearly learnt at school and thought charming.

It also included "Glad that I live am I" but without including the sanitised neo-paganism of a final verse that I have come across concluding "That is the country faith and the best of all".

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Bishops Finger
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Yes, we too had SoP at my grammar school in the 60s - it seems it was in common use then - but I've never seen it used in a church.

Ian J.

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Angloid
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I remember a chapter eucharist at a church in our deanery many years ago (the only time I've entered it); we used SoP. I can't remember whether we actually sang, or I was just browsing, the appallingly bowdlerised version of 'Let all mortal flesh.' But I'd be disappointed if that was St Percy's work (admittedly he did go a bit gaga, theologically at least, in his later years)

The church in question was I suppose 'Lanky low' in churchmanship, though with a lib. cath, vicar at the time.

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
I remember a chapter eucharist at a church in our deanery many years ago (the only time I've entered it); we used SoP. I can't remember whether we actually sang, or I was just browsing, the appallingly bowdlerised version of 'Let all mortal flesh.' But I'd be disappointed if that was St Percy's work (admittedly he did go a bit gaga, theologically at least, in his later years)

The church in question was I suppose 'Lanky low' in churchmanship, though with a lib. cath, vicar at the time.

Oh dear. I hesitate to cause you have to modify your esteem for the Blessèd Percy, but the Revd Dr Ian Bradley (on the whole a reliable authority on hymnology) says that the travesty of the Cherubikon does in fact come from his pen ... (Penguin Book of Hymns, p.238). He notes that various non-conformist hymnals have Dearmer's version, whilst RC, Anglican and Presbyterian books stick to Moultrie's rendering.

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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Cornish High
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Students at Kings College, London in the 1950s were warned against using SoP in their future parishes. Dr Sydney Evans regarded it as heretical and would wag a finger at his men saying "Songs of praise the angels sang, but you mustn't".
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Qoheleth.

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quote:
Originally posted by american piskie:
The preface to the Enlarged Edition claimed that the hymnal had been taken up by many major Education Authorities --- and that a daily service book for schools had been built around it. Quite a nice little earner, I guess.

That's the first one I remember, a red-covered Middlesex County Council edition in junior school. I can taste it now. Then moved on to the 2-harts pale blue edition at secondary school.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Metapelagius:
I hesitate to cause you have to modify your esteem for the Blessèd Percy, but the Revd Dr Ian Bradley (on the whole a reliable authority on hymnology) says that the travesty of the Cherubikon does in fact come from his pen ...

I feared as much. I hope it doesn't happen to me.

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Edgeman
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quote:
Originally posted by Cornish High:
Students at Kings College, London in the 1950s were warned against using SoP in their future parishes. Dr Sydney Evans regarded it as heretical and would wag a finger at his men saying "Songs of praise the angels sang, but you mustn't".

[Killing me]

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venbede
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However, SoP does include the Tantum Ergo in the English Hymnal version. I can imagine SoP being used at Benediction at those dodgy 30s churches with roving bishops, theosophy and animal blessings.

Dearmer first included "From out of a wood did a cuckoo fly" in the 1928 Oxford Book of Carols.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
Dearmer first included "From out of a wood did a cuckoo fly" in the 1928 Oxford Book of Carols.

Help! I can still hear it now - 40 years after Grammar School Assemblies in the early 1970's. I still have my wife's copy (from a village college sec modern) on my bookshelf of hymnbooks.

Never seen the book outside a school

Doing the assembly reading one day i got the Headmaster's view on said book "A lot of rubbish isn't it?"

I expect he was too tight to buy new books though.

[ 29. August 2012, 07:34: Message edited by: ExclamationMark ]

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venbede
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Songs of Praise or the Oxford Book of Carols?

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
Songs of Praise or the Oxford Book of Carols?

I've never heard this carol before, but it is No 103 in the Oxford Book of Carols. The footnote says it's supposed to be translated from Czech. From my first reading, it's seriously weird.

A cuckoo flies out of the wood to the manger. In December? And it calls over the manger - proclaiming Joseph's ambiguous status??

There's then two more verses. One is about a pigeon. What's that about? The other is about a dove - the child's true Father??? - but what is the difference between a pigeon and a dove, and why are they both there?

I prefer the way the Cherry Tree Carol deals with this.

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ExclamationMark
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It's a disturbing hymn.

I notice it's recorded as translated from the Czech BY Percy Dearmer. Could he understand Czech?

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Below the Lansker
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I remember 'Songs of Praise' from grammar school in the 70s as well. Even when the words of the hymns were well known (like 'Love Divine, all loves excelling') they were often set to anodyne English tunes, which most of the pupils (coming as we did from village primaries where the teachers were all Welsh non-conformists) didn't know and wouldn't sing.
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Mamacita

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Welcome, Below the Lansker. There's a Welcome thread on the All Saints board if you'd like to introduce yourself to all and sundry. Be sure to take a look at the Ship's FAQs and 10 Commandments. And enjoy sailing with us.

Mamacita, Ecclesiantics Host

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
It's a disturbing hymn.

I notice it's recorded as translated from the Czech BY Percy Dearmer. Could he understand Czech?

That's interesting. Did he not also translate the carol 'Sing Lullaby' from Czech? Perhaps he had a working knowledge of it for some reason?

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Flinging wide the gates...

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
It's a disturbing hymn.

I notice it's recorded as translated from the Czech BY Percy Dearmer. Could he understand Czech?

That's interesting. Did he not also translate the carol 'Sing Lullaby' from Czech? Perhaps he had a working knowledge of it for some reason?
Not impossible, but another explanation could be that someone else provided a literal translation which he then versified.

--------------------
Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by Below the Lansker:
I remember 'Songs of Praise' from grammar school in the 70s as well. Even when the words of the hymns were well known (like 'Love Divine, all loves excelling') they were often set to anodyne English tunes, which most of the pupils (coming as we did from village primaries where the teachers were all Welsh non-conformists) didn't know and wouldn't sing.

With regard to 'Love Divine' SoP is a bit quirky re tunes. It doesn't have the usual suspects (Blaenwern, Hyfrydol or the eponymous Stainer piece), but rather Exile (trad. English) or Moriah (trad. Welsh). Wouldn't the latter have passed muster with the non-conformist teachers?

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Metapelagius:
Percy D. also did a certain amount of fiddling with words, particularly in his curious re-writing of 'Let all mortal flesh', arguably ruining it by doing away with its eucharistic significance.

Have you or anyone else got a link to the Dearmer's lyrics for this hymn? I tried in vain to find it via google.

--------------------
My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Below the Lansker
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quote:
Originally posted by Metapelagius:
With regard to 'Love Divine' SoP is a bit quirky re tunes. It doesn't have the usual suspects (Blaenwern, Hyfrydol or the eponymous Stainer piece), but rather Exile (trad. English) or Moriah (trad. Welsh). Wouldn't the latter have passed muster with the non-conformist teachers?

The non-conformist teachers were at the primary schools - the ethos of the town grammar school was a bit Edwardian, and although there were non-conformists on the staff, the overwhelming flavour of assembly was a sort of non-descript civic Anglicanism - 'play by the rules, be nice to everyone. but don't get too passionate about religion, it's not good form'. In any case, we certainly didn't sing 'Love Divine' to Moriah, so I presume it was the other one.
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venbede
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Have you or anyone else got a link to the Dearmer's lyrics for this hymn? I tried in vain to find it via google.

Just for you, leo, because I like you really, I've typed out the second and final verses. Here it is:

King he is, yet born a servant, Lord of all in humble guise,
Truly man, yet God revealing, God as love, to mortal eyes;
God with man, he leads and feeds us, he the power and he the prize.


At thy feet the seraphs cluster, veil their faces in that light,
Spirits of just men made perfect, now in timeless splendour dight,
Saints and angels, all adore thee, serve and praise thee in the height.

The problem is not so much the distancing from a eucharistic context as the awful arcane tweeness of the whole thing. Timeless splendour dight, I mean I ask you.

Which heresy is "Truly man yet God revealing (as opposed to being)?

Always a hoot to spot exclusive language in liberals of yesteryear.

"Born of Mary" gets cut, as does references to Body and Blood.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
(S)pike couchant
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:


The problem is not so much the distancing from a eucharistic context as the awful arcane tweeness of the whole thing. Timeless splendour dight, I mean I ask you.


What's wrong with that line? It strikes me as the best one in a pretty terrible re-write.

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'Still the towers of Trebizond, the fabled city, shimmer on the far horizon, gated and walled' but Bize her yer Trabzon.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
Always a hoot to spot exclusive language in liberals of yesteryear.

Why? It's something nobody thought of until 1986.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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venbede
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quote:
Originally posted by (S)pike couchant:
quote:
Originally posted by venbede:


Timeless splendour dight, I mean I ask you.


What's wrong with that line? It strikes me as the best one in a pretty terrible re-write.
It doesn't mean or add anything, it is gratuitously archaic and the phrase is glaringly obviously only put in for the rhyme.

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
(S)pike couchant
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
quote:
Originally posted by (S)pike couchant:
quote:
Originally posted by venbede:


Timeless splendour dight, I mean I ask you.


What's wrong with that line? It strikes me as the best one in a pretty terrible re-write.
It doesn't mean or add anything, it is gratuitously archaic and the phrase is glaringly obviously only put in for the rhyme.
I wouldn't say that 'dight' is 'gratuitously archaic'. Rather, it is one of those words — like 'ay' — that seems only to exist in hymns, but to which regular Churchgoers are thoroughly accustomed. It is, after all, a regular part of the Good Friday liturgy: 'O tree of beauty, tree of light! /O tree with royal purple dight!'.

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'Still the towers of Trebizond, the fabled city, shimmer on the far horizon, gated and walled' but Bize her yer Trabzon.

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Below the Lansker
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Most of my experience in church has been spent singing traditional hymnody rather than modern music, I use the Authorised Version, have a fairly decent knowledge of Shakespeare, and I have never heard the word 'dight' before.
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Stranger in a strange land
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quote:
Originally posted by Below the Lansker:
Most of my experience in church has been spent singing traditional hymnody rather than modern music, I use the Authorised Version, have a fairly decent knowledge of Shakespeare, and I have never heard the word 'dight' before.

Mark Twain used it.
Another good word is 'overdight' as used by Spenser and well known to choristers,

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Below the Lansker
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We live and learn.
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sebby
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We had Hymns Ancient and Modern (standard edition) at my prep school (5-13) supplemented by 100 Hymns for Today which, apart from about two hymns, I absolutely hated. There was a Hymn that was hilarious called 'God of Concrete, God of Steel, God of Piston, God of Nylon' or something.

In my senior school we had the influence of PD in The English Hymnal. I remember the delights of the Advent Prose (is that correct?) and something good in the back for Lent, as well.

My absolutely favourite was a hymn that appeared only in Holy Week and therefore only once in the whole of my time there _ Who is This with Garments Gory..' A wonderful stately processional tune. The procession on Palm Sunday all those years ago with the chaplains carrying enormous branches and wearing red copes, entering to that.

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sebhyatt

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Edgeman
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quote:
Originally posted by Below the Lansker:
Most of my experience in church has been spent singing traditional hymnody rather than modern music, I use the Authorised Version, have a fairly decent knowledge of Shakespeare, and I have never heard the word 'dight' before.

Interestingly, the first time I heard the word 'dight' used was in an American children's cartoon when I was a bit younger.

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http://sacristyxrat.tumblr.com/

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ken
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We've had discussions on this book before - if anyone's interested this is a link to one (pointing to my own wibble on the subject so I won't bother you all with repeating it here)

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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venbede
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I knew I'd like ken's wibble and I wasn't disappointed. One of his best. I particularly liked

A sort of Scouting for Grown-Ups with interior design by the Arts-and-Crafts movement and architecture from the Gothic Revival. Politically conservative, theologically liberal Protestantism overlaid.

Of course that's what in the 70s I thought true catholicism was up against, and why angloid and I notice the dilution of eucharistic theology in "Let all mortal flesh".

(Sebby - 100 Hymns for Today is awful, and alas forms Part 2 of A&M New Standard. A friend with some scientific awareness particularly objects to "God of the boundless curves of space".)

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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sebby
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quote:
Originally posted by Edgeman:
quote:
Originally posted by Below the Lansker:
Most of my experience in church has been spent singing traditional hymnody rather than modern music, I use the Authorised Version, have a fairly decent knowledge of Shakespeare, and I have never heard the word 'dight' before.

Interestingly, the first time I heard the word 'dight' used was in an American children's cartoon when I was a bit younger.
I first heard this word in (I think) Neale's translation of the Vexilla Regis.

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sebhyatt

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sebby
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By Ken:

'A cult of national solidarity, almost an English Shinto that no-one was expected to believe as long as they said the right words and wore the right clothes. A sort of Scouting for Grown-Ups with interior design by the Arts-and-Crafts movement and architecture from the Gothic Revival. Politically conservative, theologically liberal Protestantism overlaid with synthetic Anglo-Catholic ritual'

Very well put. That's me I suppose. LOl

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sebhyatt

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Oxonian Ecclesiastic
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I am informed that it was used at Liverpool Cathedral for quite a long time.
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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
We've had discussions on this book before - if anyone's interested this is a link to one (pointing to my own wibble on the subject so I won't bother you all with repeating it here)

Yes, but many of the topics here come around again (and sometimes again and again) after a while. I suppose that this is inevitable. Dearmer's rewriting of 'Let all mortal flesh' certainly has, but not having Ken's encyclopaediac memory I can't remember where or when.

Interesting to see who contributed last time around. Some of the names are familiar, but not ones that I have seen recently - like Foaming Draught (who makes reference to Fortescue), or Audrey Ely, who initiated that discussion, but looks to have moved on. Or did she upset someone? Or was that Max? I recall her (AE) asking a question about the Society of Free Catholics - how long before that one comes around again? [Biased]

--------------------
Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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venbede
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One interesting comparison is Pierpoint’s “For the beauty of the earth” originally a Eucharistic offertory hymn and in English Hymnal appears in the Holy Communion section and has the refrain:

Christ our God to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

The reference to sacrifice was a bit strong for A&M revised so it became in the General section:

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.

Songs of Praise puts the hymn in the General section rather than Communion and omits the high Christology, but retains sacrifice. I detect sentimental liberalism in the use of “Father”. And the praise can be a school assembly rather than the eucharist.

Father unto thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

I’ve just notice I can’t remember Christ our God, and that’s because New English Hymnal, while retaining it in the HC section, does a compromise:

Lord of all to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged



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