This is a little group of New Testament Canticles, all from the later epistles. They do not have a great deal in common apart from following each other in Common Worship Daily Prayer, two of them consecutively. Number 66, which comes between 65 and 67 and which breaks the sequence, is For you Christ suffered 1 Peter 2.21b-25 see the blog for Feb 28th 2016, Psalms etc for Lent . The preceding canticle, Number 63, Shown in the Flesh to which CWDP gives the odd title A Song of Christ’s Appearing, was in the blog A funny little season – Ascension to Pentecost dated 4th May 2016.
1 – God’s Holy Mountain No 64
The first of these is Hebrews 12: 22-24a, 28-29, Canticle 64 in CWDP, where it has the curious title A song of God’s Assembled. The first two verses begin and end with the phrase ‘we have come’. The metre is 10 10 10 10.
1. We have come before God’s holy mountain,
The heav’nly Zion, his city and fountain,
Before glad angels, an unnumbered sum,
And heav’n’s firstborn citizens; we have come.
2. We have come before God, judge of all,
And the just spirits made whole in their call,
And Jesus, mediator, medium
Of the new covenant; lo we have come.
3. Once more he has said he’ll shake heav’n and earth
And then no more before he brings to birth
His unshakeable kingdom. Hear; believe,
And heed his voice so that you may receive.
4. Let us give thanks to God whom we adore
And offer him with reverence and awe
Such praise and worship as he shall desire
Because our God is a consuming fire.
The tune – Song 22
The tune recommended in this collection is Song 22 in F Major by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), below. It first appeared in this collection as the tune for Psalm 60. It remains a good alternative for that Psalm, though in future editions of Book 2, the tune for Psalm 60 will be Langran (see below).
It is not clear from any of the sources, whether this version of Song 22 taken from a C19 source is still as Orlando Gibbons wrote it. There is a better arrangement in the Yattendon Hymnal. The two middle parts in that arrangement appear to have been modified by Mrs Mary Bridges, wife of Robert Bridges. Although he died in 1930, her dates are 1863-1949. So if that is correct, I cannot change to that version in this collection until January 2020. If you want to look at it, though, and particularly if you are in a different jurisdiction with a different copyright period, hymnary.org here has an accessible copy of the complete Yattendon Hymnal.
Another possibility which is already in the collection for Arise. Shine out would be Birmingham.
This is another tune in 10 10 10 10 metre. It is by James Langran (1835-1909). It is another of the many tunes that people composed in the C19 for Abide with me. Because Eventide is now so indelibly the tune that goes with that much loved hymn, that the others (see Lyte’s Original – 31st May 2016) largely seem to have been forgotten. Langran has also been used for Here O my Lord, I see thee face to face. The tune was originally called St Agnes. However, there is already a much better known CM tune called St Agnes by J. B. Dykes. It is usually associated with the hymn Jesu the very thought of thee and in this collection it is used for The Law of the Spirit, in Two Canticles from Romans (6 Jan 2017). So to avoid confusion, the tune James Langran wrote has come over the last 150 years to have been renamed after him.
As mentioned in the previous post, tunes in this metre tend not to be as freely interchangeable as Common Metre tunes. So although Psalm 60 fits either Langran or Song 22, God’s Holy Mountain does not really work to Langran. This tune is here in F Major.
2 – Born into a living hope No 65
The second canticle in this post is selection of verses, 1 Pet 1: 3-5, 18, 19, 21. It is Canticle 65 in CWDP. Again, CWDP gives it a slightly odd title, in this case, A Song of Faith. CWDP provides it for Evening Prayer in the Easter Season. The metre is 88 88 88.
1. Our God the Father we applaud
Of Jesus Christ, his Son, our Lord.
2. By his great mercy, we’ve been born,
Anew into this hope, this dawn,
Alive with Jesus who has burst
Forth from the grave, the curse reversed.
3. A patrimony he has gained
That can’t be lost, nor spoilt, nor stained,
That’s kept in heav’n for us reserved,
4. While by his power, here, we’re preserved
By faith for our salvation’s sway,
To be revealed on the last day.
5. Ransomed were you from futile ways
Of your forbears, their hopes, their stays,
Not with things that perish and die,
Gold, silver, nor what they can buy,
6. But with the precious blood of Christ
The spotless Lamb, the sacrificed.
7. Through him in God, we’ve come to trust,
Who raised him up from death and dust
And glorified him, gave us scope
To place in him our faith and hope,
And praise the Father, Spirit, Son
Always, till time itself is done.
The Tune – Barragh
Here, it is set to the tune Barragh, in A Minor, by the Rev John Chetham (? – 1746). It comes originally from his Book of Psalmody of 1718. Although there is no doubt as to his date of death at Skipton, he is variously recorded as having as having been born in 1665 or 1688. The minor key here is the foundation for a tune that is dignified rather than sad. John Chetham was Master of the Clerk’s School Skipton. His Book of Psalmody carried on through successive editions until c 1885, that is to say, a spread of c 170 years, with various editors and tunes being added and removed. I have a copy from the mid C19, by which time Chetham is spelt Cheetham and Barragh has been dropped from the repertoire.
3 – Our God is light
The final canticle for this post is 1 Jn 1:5-9, Canticle 67 in CWDP where it is called A Song of Repentance. It is an alternative for Evenings in Lent, but would also be suitable for other Seasons of Preparation, or for a Friday or Saturday evening in Ordinary Time. It is in Common Metre.
1. Lo, this is what we’ve heard from Christ ~ and now proclaim to you.
Our God is light. In him there is ~ no darkness; he is true.
2. If we protest we are God’s friends ~ yet still in darkness walk,
Then any truth we claim is false; ~ mere lies is all our talk.
3. If in the light we live and walk, ~ as God is in the light,
Then fellowship is what we have; ~ we know our Lord’s delight.
4. The blood of Jesus then, the Son ~ of God avails to clean
Us of all sin, and purifies ~ from all that’s sick and mean.
5. If we say that we’re free from sin ~ ourselves we dupe and fool.
There is no truth within our hearts; ~ we do not know his rule.
6. If we confess our sins then he ~ who faithful is and just,
Us will forgive, cleansing us from ~ injustice and disgust.
The Tune – Dunlap’s Creek
The tune here is Dunlap’s Creek. It is as good as unknown in England but may be better known in Scotland and Ulster. In style, it will sound very unfamiliar to English ears. It is a classic ‘early American’ type of tune from c 1820 in what one might call ‘frontier style’. In this, it contrast with Boyd’s Salvation (see Psalm 141). Because that appears in a collection called Kentucky Harmony of 1815, it has been assumed to come from the American frontier. However, by style, I am fairly sure Boyd’s Salvation is English Trad. from a generation or two earlier.
Dunlap’s Creek is usually attributed to Freeman Lewis (1780-1859). He seems to have been a surveyor and amateur musician. Some sources, though, attribute it to an unknown Samuel McFarland from the same era. It is sometimes known as Babel’s Streams because it has been used for Ps 137. That, though, is confusing as there are other tunes with similar names.
There are several versions of both the melody and the harmonies. Even the timing can differ. There are also some modern arrangements and a shape note version with the melody in the tenor. The setting here, though, is public domain and comes from hymnary.org. Some of the harmonies betray its primitive origins. It should not be sung too fast. Nor as a ‘folk’ style tune should it be played too rigidly. Below, it is in F Major.
Many other tunes both in CM and DCM tunes would also fit this canticle well.