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to mention the fancy figures and refrains of campmeeting music, which have cheapened it, neither John Cole's "Annapolis” nor Arne's "Arlington" nor a dozen others that have borrowed these speaking lines, can wear out their association with “Auld lang Syne.” The hymn has permeated the tune, and, without forgetting its own words, the Scotch melody preforms both a social and religious mission. Some arrangements of it make it needlessly repetitious, but its pathos will always best vocalize the hymn, especially the first and last stanzas,
When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies
In seas of heavenly rest,
Across my peaceful breast.
"VITAL SPARK OF HEAVENLY FLAME."
This paraphrase, by Alexander Pope, of the Emperor Adrian's death-bed address to his soul
Animula, vagula, blandula,
Hospes, comesque corporis, -transfers the poetry and constructs a hymnic theme.
An old hymn writer by the name of Flatman wrote a Pindaric, somewhat similar to “Adrian's Address," as follows:
When on my sick-bed I languish,
“Be not fearful, come away.” Pope combined these two poems with the words of Divine inspiration, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?” and made a pagan philosopher's question the text for a triumphant Christian anthem of hope.
Vital spark of heavenly flame,
With sounds seraphic ring.
O death, where is thy sting?
The old anthem, “The Dying Christian," or“The Dying Christian to his Soul,” which first made this lyric familiar in America as a musical piece, will never be sung again except at antique entertainments, but it had an importance in its day.
Beginning in quadruple time on four flats minor, it renders the first stanza in flowing concords largo affettuoso, and a single bass fugue. Then suddenly shifting to one flat, major, duple time, it executes the second stanza, “Hark! they whisper”....“What is this, etc.,” in alternate pianissimo and forte phrases; and finally, changing to triple time, sings the third triumphant stanza, andante, through staccato and fortissimo. The shout in the last adagio, on the four final bars,“O Death! O Death!” softening with "where is thy sting?” is quite in the style of old orchestral magnificence.
Since “The Dying Christian” ceased to appear in church music, the poem, for some reason, seems not to have been recognized as a hymn. It is, however, a Christian poem, and a true lyric of hope and consolation, whatever the character of the author or however pagan the original that suggested it.
The most that is now known of Edward Harwood, the composer of the anthem, is that he was an English musician and psalmodist, born near Blackburn, Lancaster Co., 1707, and died about 1787.
“YOUR HARPS, YE TREMBLING SAINTS.”
This hymn of Toplady,-unlike “A Debtor to Mercy Alone,”and "Inspirer and Hearer of Prayer,” both now little used,-stirs no controversial
feeling by a single line of his aggressive Calvinism. It is simply a song of Christian gratitude and joy.
Your harps, ye trembling saints
Down from the willows take;
Bid every string awake.
We are not far from home,
We every moment come.
* * * * * *
Blest is the man, O God,
That stays himself on Thee,
Shall Thy salvation see,
"Olmutz” was arranged by Lowell Mason from a Gregorian chant. He set it himself to Toplady's hymn, and it seems the natural music for it. The words are also sometimes written and sung to Jonathan Woodman's “State St.”
Jonathan Call Woodman was born in Newburyport, Mass., July 12, 1813. He was the organist of St. George's Chapel, Flushing L.I. and a teacher, composer and compiler. His Musical Casket was not issued until Dec. 1858, but he wrote the tune of “State St." in August, 1844. It was a contribution to Bradbury's Psalmodist, which was published the same year.
“YE GOLDEN LAMPS OF HEAVEN, FAREWELL.”
Dr. Doddridge's “farewell” is not a note of regret. Unlike Bernard, he appreciates this world while he anticipates the better one, but his contemplation climbs from God's footstool to His throne. His thought is in the last two lines of the second stanza, where he takes leave of the sun
My soul that springs beyond thy sphere
No more demands thine aid. But his fancy will find a function for the "golden lamps” even in the glory that swallows up their light
Ye stars are but the shining dust
Of my divine abode,
Where I shall dwell with God.
Shall there His beams display,
With that unvaried day.
THE TUNE. The hymn has been assigned to “Mt. Auburn,” a composition of George Kingsley, but a far better interpretation—if not best of all-is H. K. Oliver's tune of “Merton,” (1847,) older, but written purposely for the words.
“TRIUMPHANT ZION, LIFT THY HEAD."
This fine and stimulating lyric is Doddridge in another tone. Instead of singing hope to the in