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Rise from transitory things
Toward Heaven, thy native place;
Time shall soon this earth remove;
To seats prepared above.
Fire ascending seeks the sun;
Both speed them to their source:
Pants to view His glorious face,
To rest in His embrace.
Cease, ye pilgrims, cease to mourn,
Press onward to the prize;
Triumphant in the skies.
Happy entrance will be given;
And earth exchanged for heaven. This hymn must have found its predestinated organ when it found
“Amsterdam," the work of James Nares, had its birth and baptism soon after the work of Seagrave; and they have been breath and bugle to the church of God ever since they became one song. In The Great Musicians, edited by Francis Huffer, is found this account of James Nares:
“He was born at Hanwell, Middlesex, in 1715; was admitted chorister at the Chapel Royal, under Bernard Gates, and when he was able to play the organ was appointed deputy for Pigott, of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and became organist at York Minster in 1734. He succeeded Greene as organist and composer to the Chapel Royal in 1756, and in the same year was made Doctor of Music at Cambridge. He was appointed master of the children of the Chapel Royal in 1757, on the death of Gates. This post he resigned in 1780, and he died in 1783, (February 10,) and was buried in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.
“He had the reputation of being an excellent trainer of boy's voices, many of his anthems having been written to exhibit the accomplishments of his young pupils. The degree of excellence the boys attained was not won in those days without the infliction of much corporal punishment."
Judging from the high pulse and action in the music of “Amsterdam,” one would guess the energy of the man who made boy choirs-and made good ones. In the old time the rule was, “Birds that can sing and won't sing, must be made to sing"; and the rule was sometimes enforced with the master's time-stick.
A tune entitled “Excelsius," written a hundred years later by John Henry Cornell, so nearly resembles “Amsterdam” as to suggest an intention to amend it. It changes the modal note from G
to A, but while it marches at the same pace it lacks the jubilant modulations and the choral glory of the 18th-century piece.
SIR JOHN BOWRING.
"In the Cross of Christ I Glory."
In this hymn we see, sitting humbly at the feet of the great author of our religion, a man who impressed himself perhaps more than any other save Napoleon Bonaparte upon his own generation, and who was the wonder of Europe for his immense attainments and the versatility of his powers. Statesman, philanthropist, biographer, publicist, linguist, historian, financier, naturalist, poet, political economist—there is hardly a branch of knowledge or a field of research from which he did not enrich himself and others, or a human condition that he did not study and influence.
Sir John Bowring was born in 1792. When a youth he was Jeremy Bentham's political pupil, but gained his first fame by his vast knowledge of European literature, becoming acquainted with no less than thirteen* continental languages and dialects. He served in consular appointments at seven different capitals, carried important reform measures in Parliament, was Minister Plenipotentiary to China and Governor of Hong Kong, and concluded a commercial treaty with Siam, where every previous commissioner had failed. But in *Exaggerated in some accounts to forty.
all his crowded years the pen of this tireless and successful man was busy. Besides his political, economic and religious essays, which made him a member of nearly every learned society in Europe, his translations were countless, and poems and hymns of his own composing found their way to the public, among them the tender spiritual song,
How sweetly flowed the Gospel sound
From lips of gentleness and grace
And joy and gladness filled the place, -and the more famous hymn indicated at the head of this sketch. Knowledge of all religions only qualified him to worship the Crucified with both faith and reason. Though nominally a Unitarian, to him, as to Channing and Martineau and Edmund Sears, Christ was “all we know of God.”
Bowring died Nov. 23, 1872. But his hymn to the Cross will never die:
In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o'er the wrecks of time;
Gathers round its head sublime.
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Lol it glows with peace and joy.
Light and love upon my way,
Adds new lustre to the day.
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure
By the cross are sanctified,
Joys that through all time abide.
Ithamar Conkey's “Rathbun” fits the adoring words as if they had waited for it. Its air, swelling through diatonic fourth and third to the supreme syllable, bears on its waves the homage of the lines from bar to bar till the four voices come home to rest full and satisfied in the final chord
Gathers round its head sublime. Ithamar Conkey, was born of Scotch ancestry, in Shutesbury, Mass., May 5th, 1815. He was a noted bass singer, and was for a long time connected with the choir of the Calvary church, New York City, and sang the oratorio solos. His tune of “Rathbun" was composed in 1847, and published in Greatorex's collection in 1851. He died in Elizabeth, N. J., April 30, 1867.