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Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1839,
BY JOHN M. BUT L E R, In the clerk's office of the district court of the eastern district of Pennsylvania.
MANY persons of piety and good taste in literature, have lamented the prosaic and inelegant style of most of the hymns and spiritual songs in general use. Watts, Rippon, the Wesleys, and other devout men, have undoubted claims to our grateful regard for their lyrical compositions—but we should not so reverence their labors as to forego the advantages of improvement.
In the preparation of the selected hymns in this volume, I profess to have disregarded the originals, wherever departure therefrom appeared desirable. Extensive alterations have been made in imagery, expression, rhythm and rhyme. In some cases, the hymns have been so remodelled as to present slight indications of their primitive form, and in many instances new stanzas have been substituted for exscinded portions. For this reason, the names of authors are omitted, and the alterations are not in any way designated. It is believed that much has been done in the way of improvement—and conceded, that much more remains to be accomplished. Many original hymns are inserted. To some of them the initials of the writers are affixed, and the authorship of others is acknowledged in the Index. These are not presented as specimens of what sacred lyrical poetry should be—but as a contribution to the materials from which a volume of better compositions may hereafter be arranged.
In the preparation of the music, simplicity and variety were consulted. The tunes are generally easy of execution; and a sufficient number is furnished to gratify every reasonable taste. The solemnity of Old Hundred, and other pieces of the olden time; the brilliancy of Refuge and Gospel Banner; the exultation of Ilford and Creation; and the pathos of Benneville and kindred harmonies, are here presented in varied but not incongruous affinity. And believing that many of the most beautiful secular melodies might be profitably appropriated to devotional purposes, a number of them have been harmonized and inserted in this work. Care has been taken to select such as are disconnected with improper associations. But should some pious persons disapprove this appropriation, they may set aside the harmonies referred to, and find herein a sufficient variety of music originally composed for religious use.
In some of the tunes, those who have studied music as a science will find deviations from established rules. Were the book prepared exclusively for the use of scientific persons, these deviations would be excluded—but it should be remembered that a tune which is condemned as a barbarism by one, may be highly valued by another—and since a sufficient variety is presented to gratify the taste of all, without injury to any, it is hoped that occasional eccentricity will be considered admissible, even by musical critics. w
The sentiment of the hymn should always determine the style of execution in the music. Singing is but speaking with greater modulations of voice—and as in speaking, so in singing, the movement should be faster, or slower—the expression exulting or pathetic, and the tone louder or softer, according to the nature of the theme.
And since the corresponding words in the several stanzas of a hymn, seldom properly admit of the same expression, it is manifest that the musical marks of piano, forte, and the like, are of little service, excepting in music to which words have been expressly adapted—as in Anthems. For this reason, I have omitted all such marks, saving in a few instances. He who understands and Jeels the sentiment, will cause sense and sound to correspond, if he possess but ordinary knowledge of music and a tolerable voice,—while he who either does not understand, or, understanding, feels no sympathy with the sentiment expressed, will sing with little profit to others and less to himself, however scientific his execution, or melodious the intonations of his voice. The motto of this volume is full of meaning: “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”
I gratefully acknowledge my obligations to Rev. Thomas Whittemore, of Boston, editor of the “Songs of Zion;” Rev. Joshua Leavitt, of New York, editor of the “Christian Lyre;” and Lowell Mason, Esq., of Boston, editor of “The Choir,”—for permission to copy music from these publications, respectively. The tunes will be found duly credited—but I feel that I should not do myself justice without inserting this prefatory notice of the favor received. Especially are my acknowledgments due to the gentleman first named, for unrestricted permission to copy from his late valuable work. A. C. T.
IND Ex of HYMNs.
Awake, ye saints, and raise your... 147
Behold what condescending love .. 261
Blest be the dear uniting love ..H. 166
Come, ye who love the Lord ..... 292
Earth and time are darkly smitten +536