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Land with the change of a word and a tense the hymn created the melody, and soon afterward the complete tune was made. Two years later it was published by Lowell Mason, and Oliver gave it the name of the street in Salem on which his wife was born, wooed, won, and married. It adds a pathos to its history that “Federal St.” was sung at her burial.
This first of Oliver's tunes was followed by "Harmony Grove," "Morning,” “Walnut Grove," “Merton," "Hudson,” “Bosworth," "Salisbury Plain,” several anthems and motets, and a “Te Deum."
In his old age, at the great Peace Jubilee in Boston, 1872, the baton was put into his hands, and the gray-haired composer conducted the chorus of ten thousand voices as they sang the words and music of his noble harmony. The incident made “Federal St." more than ever a feature of New England history. Oliver died in 1885.
“MY GOD, HOW ENDLESS IS THY LOVE.”
The spirited tune to this hymn of Watts, by Frederick Lampe, variously named “Kent" and “Devonshire,” historically reaches back so near to the poet's time that it must have been one of the earliest expressions of his fervent words.
Johan Friedrich Lampe, born 1693, in Saxony, was educated in music at Helmstadt, and came to
England in 1725 as a band musician and composer to Covent Garden Theater. His best-known secular piece is the music written to Henry Carey's burlesque, “The Dragon of Wantley."
Mrs. Rich, wife of the lessee of the theater, was converted under the preaching of the Methodists, and after her husband's death her house became the home of Lampe and his wife, where Charles Wesley often met him.
The influence of Wesley won him to more serious work, and he became one of the evangelist's helpers, supplying tunes to his singing campaigns. Wesley became attached to him, and after his death-in Edinburgh, 1752-commemorated the musician in a funeral hymn.
In popular favor Bradbury's tune of “Rolland" has now superseded the old music sung to Watts' lines
My God, how endless is Thy love,
Thy gifts are every evening new,
* * * * * *
To Thee I consecrate my days;
Demand perpetual songs of praise.
choir leader, and William's love of music was inherited. He left his father's farm, and came to Boston, where he first heard a church-organ. Encouraged by Mason and others to follow music as a profession, he went abroad, studied at Leipsic, and soon after his return became known as a composer of sacred tunes. He died in Montclair, N. J., 1868.
"I'M NOT ASHAMED TO OWN MY LORD.”
The favorite tune for this spiritual hymn, also by Watts, is old “Arlington," one of the most useful church melodies in the whole realm of English psalmody. Its name clings to a Boston street, and the beautiful chimes of Arlington St. church (Unitarian) annually ring its music on special occasions, as it has since the bells were tuned:
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord
Or to defend His cause,
The glory of His cross.
His Name is all my trust,
Nor let my hope be lost. Dr. Thomas Augustine Arne, the creator of “Arlington,” was born in London, 1710, the son of a King St. upholsterer. He studied at Eton, and though intended for the legal profession, gave his whole mind to music. At twenty-three he began
writing operas for his sister, Susanna (a singer who afterwards became the famous tragic actress, Mrs. Cibber).
Arne's music to Milton's "Comus," and to *Rule Brittannia" established his reputation. He was engaged as composer to Drury Lane Theater, and in 1759 received from Oxford his degree of Music Doctor. Later in life he turned his attention to oratorios, and other forms of sacred music, and was the first to introduce female voices in choir singing. He died March 5, 1778, chanting hallelujahs, it is said, with his last breath.
"IS THIS THE KIND RETURN ?"
Dr. Watts in this hymn gave experimental piety its hour and language of reflection and penitence:
Is this the kind return?
Are these the thanks we owe,
Let past ingratitude
Provoke our weeping eyes. United in loving wedlock with these words in former years was “Golden Hill,” a chime of sweet counterpoint too rare to bury its authorship under the vague phrase “A Western Melody." "It was caught evidently from a forest bird* that flutes its clear solo in the sunsets of May and June. There can be no mistaking the imitation-the same compass, the same upward thrill, the same fall and warbled turn. Old-time folk used to call for it, “Sing, my Fairweather Bird.” It lingers in a few of the twenty- or thirty-years-ago collections, but stronger voices have drowned it out of the new.
*The wood thrush.
“Thacher,” (set to the same hymn,) faintly recalls its melody. Nevertheless “Thacher” is a good tune. Though commonly written in sharps, contrasting the B flat of its softer and more liquid rival of other days, it is one of Handel's strains, and lends the meaning and pathos of the lyric text to voice and instrument.
“WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS.”
This crown of all the sacred odes of Dr. Watts for the song-service of the church of God was called by Matthew Arnold the “greatest hymn in the English language.” The day the eminent critic died he heard it sung in the Sefton Park Presbyterian Church, and repeated the opening lines softly to himself again and again after the services. The hymn is certainly one of the greatest in the language. It appeared as No. 7 in Watts' third edition (about 1710) containing five stanzas. The second line
On which the Prince of Glory died, -read originally
Where the young Prince of Glory died.