I’ve recently metricated another of the Common Worship Canticles, No 38 in Common Worship Daily Prayer. There it has the not very exciting title of ‘A Song of Jerusalem our Mother’. It is described as Isaiah 66.10,11a,12a,12c,13a,14a,b. The observant will notice that not much is omitted. It is probably simpler though, to describe it as a selection from Is 66:10-14. In Daily Prayer, it is provided for Saturday mornings in Ordinary (Green) Time. This means that the collection now has metrical versions of all the psalms and canticles for Common Worship Morning Prayer in Ordinary Time.
The most obvious omission is part of v 11, which in the NRSV is,
“that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom”.
Expressive though that thought might be, one can understand why a choral director responsible for boy trebles or a girl’s choir of teenage girls might be grateful to the compilers for leaving that line out, particularly since the first half of the line, which Common Worship does include, has already mentioned ‘her consoling breast’.
My version is in Common Metre. Here is how it goes.
1 All you who love Jerusalem ~ rejoice; be glad with her.
Come all who mourn her, come, rejoice:~ cease grieving how things were.
2 Then with delight you shall drink deep ~ from her consoling breast:
“Then”, says our God, “you shall be nursed: ~ upon her arm you’ll rest”.
3 “I shall make peace wash over you, – ~ its flood shall not abate:
The wealth of nations flow to you ~ as rivers in wild spate.”
4 “A mother I shall be to you; ~ there shall I care for you:
Just as she cherishes her child, ~ so shall I comfort you.”
5 “At this sight shall your heart be glad: ~ your very bones shall sing:
Your frame shall flourish bounteously ~ as grass grows fresh in Spring.”
6 Before his servants he shall cause ~ his hand in strength to grow:
His indignation, though, is what ~ his enemies shall know.
My version includes the whole of v 14. I have not, though, added the verse that precedes the Canticle, Is 66,9, here from the NRSV,
“Shall I open the womb and not deliver? says the Lord;
shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb? says your God”
It sets the context, but does not work as a verse to sing.
At the moment, I am still slightly undecided what tune to recommend for it. I think it would go well to Eardisley, see Hosea’s Song in Book 6. The tune, though which I am thinking of allocating to it is the one at the top of this page.
It comes from Urania, “or a choice collection of psalm-tunes, anthems, and hymns, from the most approv’d authors, with some entirely new; in two, three, and four parts… (1761)” where it is described as ‘the 43rd Psalm’. Hymnary.org attributes it to John Smith of Market Lavington in Wiltshire. I have not been able to find out much more about him, apart from his being active at that time. Its style is very much of its date. I think it is a most attractive tune.
I have made two alterations to the version in Urania. The first is a frequent change made to C18 tunes. In the original the air is in the tenor line. So I have exchanged the tenor and treble/suprano lines. Urania described the Alto line as ‘Counter’ and I have left it in that position.
The other change is that in the original the C in the first half line of the melody is dotted like the previous B and D. When played that way, repeating the rhythm of the two previous bars creates the impression that the line contains only seven syllables. The impression is erroneous, but an average congregation is likely to be misled by it. It makes it difficult to link the notes and the last three syllables of the line. So I have altered the rhythm so as to make this easier to catch.
As far as I know, this tune has no other name. So I am calling it ’Smith’s 43rdr. If anyone knows of another title, please say.
Here is a version with the four parts set out separately. I accept this may not be usual practice, but to avoid creating the impression that there is a difference between it and the version in hymn format above, the Tenor line is in the Bass clef.
As before, let me know what you think.