Escaped Hymns

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  • The Lord's my shepherd, sung to that ghastly tune Crimond (YMMV), used to be common at UK funerals :anguished: IJ
    Not just funerals: after the late Princess Margaret Rose chose it for her wedding in 1960 it also cropped up with increasing frequency at weddings.

    But then inappropriate/unwise hymns for funerals and weddings is another thread...

    I recognise most on Enoch's list but not necessarily all are hymns - Jerusalem, for example, is a national song, the same goes for I vow to thee, my country.

    What is a pity is that traditional hymns from parts of the UK where languages other than English may be sung are not included: I'm sure if they were then Calon Lân would be well up on the list.

  • I've sung "Sweet Sacrament Divine" many, many times in Anglican churches. It's in the NEH, after all. It's certainly more familiar to me than about half of the BBC's list.

    Mind you, I've also sung the Lourdes Pilgrims' Hymn pretty frequently in Anglican churches. And "Ave Maria! O Maiden, O Mother". And on at least one occasion the truly-astonishing "On this day, O Beautiful Mother". The last one did engender complaints and mockery from the congregation, however. There's really no way to pretend that "Queen of Angles, deign to hear/ Lisping children's humble pray'r" is anything other than ridiculous.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    ... And on at least one occasion the truly-astonishing "On this day, O Beautiful Mother". The last one did engender complaints and mockery from the congregation, however. There's really no way to pretend that "Queen of Angles, deign to hear/ Lisping children's humble pray'r" is anything other than ridiculous.
    It's re-assuring to know that it isn't just the odder realms of evangelical conventicles that can produce truly nauseous hymns. I'm assuming 'Angles' is a misprint rather than a nationalistic reference to Mary's Dowry, or an encouragement to children fed up with their geometry, but even if as 'Angels', that's pretty bad.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Or perhaps Angles sung it for protection against the Jutes and Saxons.
    :smile:

    Fascinating thread. Thanks all for broadening my horizons.
  • MudfrogMudfrog Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    The Salvation Army song book is, IME, the most ecumenical hymn book there is.
    At one end of the scale we have the newest stuff like The Splendour of the King and the Potters Hand and from the top of the candle we have Faber and Bernard of Clarvaux (Jesus the very thought of thee).
    In the middle we have loads of Cof E stuff, more Wesley than the Methodists ('Let earth and heaven agree' anyone?). We also have all the SA stuff as well as well as Dudley Smith and John Bell and nice Catholic Hymns like Living Lord. Sadly we also have Sydney Carter :( :(

    The only kind of stuff we won't have is the sacramental stuff so, in the aforementioned Living Lord we omit
    'You have commanded us to do
    this in remembrance Lord of you.'

    We also do not have The Church's one foundation.

    Oddly, for a Wesleyan movement we have the very strongly Calvinistic Rock of Ages.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    I'm assuming 'Angles' is a misprint rather than a nationalistic reference to Mary's Dowry, or an encouragement to children fed up with their geometry, but even if as 'Angels', that's pretty bad.
    I was at a Carol Service in Southampton years ago which not only featured "angles" but "swaythling bands" (Swaythling being a district in the city).

  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Sweet sacrament divine is not one of my particular favourites (though the tune has a certain allure). But I seem to remember reading somewhere that its provenance is Anglo- rather than Roman Catholic.
  • angloid wrote: »
    Sweet sacrament divine is not one of my particular favourites (though the tune has a certain allure). But I seem to remember reading somewhere that its provenance is Anglo- rather than Roman Catholic.

    It would appear not:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Stanfield
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    I kneel corrected! I don't know where I got that idea from.
  • Even people who use the same hymn book for years don't always know everything in that hymn book. It's quite possible to go to a different church and realise that they sing a different 50 hymns from the same book that your church does.

    After many years, somebody new started choosing the hymns each week from our standard hymn book, assuming people knew them. But we didn't - they were a different selection from the ones we had 'always' sung!
  • Chorister wrote: »
    Even people who use the same hymn book for years don't always know everything in that hymn book. It's quite possible to go to a different church and realise that they sing a different 50 hymns from the same book that your church does.

    After many years, somebody new started choosing the hymns each week from our standard hymn book, assuming people knew them. But we didn't - they were a different selection from the ones we had 'always' sung!

    I used to attend a weekly Episcopal Eucharist at the seminary that was on the campus of the university where I went to law school. The professor in charge went out of his way to highlight the hidden gems of the hymnal, in hopes of raising up priests who wouldn't program the same ten hymns over and over again. He used to tell stories about the Episcopal seminary services at Yale, where the students got to program the hymns, which resulted in a few fine hymns getting banned for over-use. His eclectic selections used to drive some of the students nuts, but it was always a fun sight-reading exercise.
  • It is very easy for people to get stuck in a hymn rut, using the same few hymns. What inevitably happens is that the number of hymns in the pot shrinks so that you end up with a depressingly small pool of "known" hymns outside those for Christmas and Easter.

    If you have an idle moment take the hymn book you use at your church and count how many of the hymns you sing/know: you may be surprised at the answer!
  • I think any Episcopal church that sang through the entirety of the Hymnal 1982 would have to be very broad liturgically. A seminary chapel is one of the few contexts in which I can imagine it. In contrast, a moderately Anglo-Catholic parish that kept most feasts and saints days might well sing through all of the New English Hymnal. That's only partly due to the NEH being shorter (542 hymns vs. 720 in the Hymnal 1982). The editors of each had very different ideas about what a hymn book needed to be.

    I prefer the NEH, but I realize I'm not comparing like to like.
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    That's only partly due to the NEH being shorter (542 hymns vs. 720 in the Hymnal 1982). The editors of each had very different ideas about what a hymn book needed to be.

    But the 1982 counts the same hymn text twice or sometimes thrice if it is set to more than one text. We USA Episcopalians aren't as used to looking at one hymn and singing it to a different tune as C of E people are (nor as used to having the tune be printed separately from the words, nor having a words-only edition of the hymnal).
  • From Enoch's list, the only one in the top 50 which I have never heard sung in church (though I have heard it on the radio) is "I vow to thee my country"

    I've sung it in church on a number of occasions, although its first verse is often seen as somewhat problematic these days, so I think it's going to fall further out of favour. As I read down the list, my first unfamiliar hymn is "Will Your Anchor Hold In The Storms Of Life" which I have never come across at all.

    Like Jengie, I'm surprised that "O God our help in ages past" didn't rate a mention - I'd certainly regard it as one of the standard hymns that comes around regularly in the rotation.

    I'd also think that schoolboy favourite "He who would valiant be" would rank higher based on people's memories of their schooldays, but perhaps we're a generation late for that to register much.


    I remember "will your anchor hold " from a Holiness church I went to in Nottingham.

  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I'm slightly shocked that no one has yet confessed their love of "Shine Je.."

    Okay. I'll leave, now.
  • Zappa wrote: »
    I'm slightly shocked that no one has yet confessed their love of "Shine Je.."

    Okay. I'll leave, now.

    I actually quite like it. There, I've said it.
  • MudfrogMudfrog Shipmate
    Zappa wrote: »
    I'm slightly shocked that no one has yet confessed their love of "Shine Je.."

    Okay. I'll leave, now.

    I actually quite like it. There, I've said it.

    Indeed, I've never understood the rather sniffy attitude to it.


  • I like it too.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    @Mudfrog - you think that version will convince anyone? I don't mind Shine, Jesus, Shine, helped by first singing it to a brass band, which oomphs it up nicely. Probably to a Salvation Army band at an ecumenical service. It doesn't have quite the same impact sung to an acoustic guitar.
  • BasilicaBasilica Shipmate
    Mudfrog wrote: »
    Zappa wrote: »
    I'm slightly shocked that no one has yet confessed their love of "Shine Je.."

    Okay. I'll leave, now.

    I actually quite like it. There, I've said it.

    Indeed, I've never understood the rather sniffy attitude to it.


    Agreed. I have mixed feelings about it on a personal level, because it was sung regularly at a primary school I hated, but it is objectively a good song, popular with lots of age groups, and completely free of heresy.
  • MudfrogMudfrog Shipmate
    @Mudfrog - you think that version will convince anyone? I don't mind Shine, Jesus, Shine, helped by first singing it to a brass band, which oomphs it up nicely. Probably to a Salvation Army band at an ecumenical service. It doesn't have quite the same impact sung to an acoustic guitar.

    Don't tell me you didn't laugh! :)
  • Well, I loved it. Here it is, given a remarkable amount of life considering it's played on an organ: https://tinyurl.com/ybzf5saw
  • MudfrogMudfrog Shipmate
    It sounds like it should be blaring out from a fairground carousel.
    Or the Blackpool Tower ballroom LOL
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Nope, hated the tunelessness of the Minions because I don't like SJS that much and that version made me think how much I dislike it - good aversion therapy.
  • Mudfrog wrote: »
    It sounds like it should be blaring out from a fairground carousel.
    Which is why I like it! (I love fairground organs).

  • I think 'Will your anchor hold in the storms of life' became a Boys' Brigade hymn, so Baptist or similar in origin?
  • According to Wikipedia, it was written by an American "Methodist Episcopal" (is that like the Wesleyan Methodists in Britain?) and dates from 1882 - so a few years earlier than the BB in fact.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    This is a list from the BBC's Songs of Praise in 2013 of their 100 top hymns.

    ...
    A good bunch of those aren't hymns.
  • According to Wikipedia, it was written by an American "Methodist Episcopal" (is that like the Wesleyan Methodists in Britain?) and dates from 1882 - so a few years earlier than the BB in fact.
    Methodist Episcopal was the "formal" designation for Methodist denominations over here for some time, and still is for some. For a century and a half, the main Methodist body here was the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1939, it reunited with two breakaway groups—the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Methodist Protestant Church—to form the Methodist Church. (In 1968, that body merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form the United Methodist Church, which is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.)

    The two largest historically African American Methodist bodies here are the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (A.M.E. Zion) Church.

    Episcopal refers to the fact that American Methodist churches have bishops.

  • Enoch wrote: »
    This is a list from the BBC's Songs of Praise in 2013 of their 100 top hymns.

    ...
    A good bunch of those aren't hymns.
    :lol:
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    This is a list from the BBC's Songs of Praise in 2013 of their 100 top hymns.

    ...

    A good bunch of those aren't hymns.
    Which ones and why? Unless you're categorising 'spiritual songs' and/or choruses as 'not-hymns', I can only see one in that list that really might not count.

    There may be several that you or I might wish weren't hymns, but that's a different issue.

  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Number 17 isn't! Unless a song in praise of nationalist idolatry counts as such.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    This is a list from the BBC's Songs of Praise in 2013 of their 100 top hymns.

    ...

    A good bunch of those aren't hymns.
    Which ones and why? Unless you're categorising 'spiritual songs' and/or choruses as 'not-hymns', I can only see one in that list that really might not count.

    Number 11 - Jerusalem is a poem written as part of the introduction to a volume about another poet, John Milton: and far from eulogising about the England of his day, it is at best an earnest wish for change, written by a man who was, even throughout the Napoleonic Wars, a supporter of the French revolution to the end of his days.

    Number 63 - Mine eyes have seen the glory should be correctly titled The Battle hymn of the Republic and is the United States' equivalent of Jerusalem - a patriotic song, not a hymn.

    Number 17 - I vow to thee my country is a patriotic poem, much re-written from the original which was a paean to imperial might, replacing lines about battle and artillery barrage in favour of the lines about devotion to country; the second verse is almost entirely unaltered and carries on the original theme equating Great Britain with heaven on earth.

    There are many paraphrases of psalms, some more successful/ faithful to the original than others: notably there are 3 paraphrases of Psalm 23 - numbers 26, 34 and 50 - and I can think of at least 4 more which didn't make the list.

    Number 87 - When the saints go marching in is not, strictly speaking, a hymn but an extended marching chorus. There is no developed theological or biblical theme at all.
    The same description is better applied to number 57 - O happy Day: these traditional spirituals can be very moving and musically provide many an earworm but hymns they are not.

    Looking at the list I think it owes much, much more to those songs and hymns that the BBC's Songs of Praise programme favours than anything else.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    No. I don't agree. Whatever they may have started as, Jerusalem and I vow to thee my country and Mine eyes have seen the glory are no longer not-hymns. They have all, alas, become bad hymns.

    And I think you've got the second verse of I vow to thee my country wrong. It's a dreadful hymn, reprehensible in its theology, its affective timbre and the way it's used. I won't sing it. But I've often thought the second verse is one of the saddest verses in the hymnal. It's referring to the kingdom of heaven, not the earthly 'my country' of the first verse, but "and there's another country I've heard of long ago is referring to it as something remote, vague and almost forgotten.

    When the saints go marching in is a bit simplistic, but as an expression of the hope of heaven, it's definitely a hymn. And, assuming we're talking about the full Doddridge O happy Day, that definitely counts as a hymn.


    I don't think one argue that paraphrases and metrical versions of psalms shouldn't be included unless one is insisting on a take on scriptural interpretation that prescribes 'psalms, hymns and spiritual songs' as three mutually exclusive categories.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    I remember having a sudden revulsion of feeling about "I vow to thee" and stopped singing the first verse, possibly during it. How very dare anyone finagle me into giving up everyone important to me for some fantasy of a nation? Which poet was it said that in giving a choice between betraying friends or betraying country he hoped he had the courage to stick by his friends.
    If heaven is only heaven because it resembles the fantasy England of the upper classes, that does for verse two as well.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    I remember having a sudden revulsion of feeling about "I vow to thee" and stopped singing the first verse, possibly during it. ...
    I think I'd class that as a blessing, a work of grace.

    Either people are singing a lie, or they giving Caesar more than he has any claim over.
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