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One cannot help fearing that the “in the treatment of a volume endeared tention" with which such a hymn would to thousands by long association; and be sung in most congregations would should they find that its character is not be unanimous!
materially deteriorated by such treatTwo beautiful hymns may be noted ment, they can either demand that the as almost peculiar to this collection: old book should be still supplied to "Christ to the young man said," writ. them (which it is rumored will be ten by Longfellow for his brother's done), or, failing this, congregations ordination, and "In the field with their will certainly desire the substitution of flocks abiding," by Dean Farrar. some more congenial hymnal in their
The Scotch, American, and Irish col- public services. lections have each peculiar merits, and We may consider the work in two attention may well be drawn to hymns portions: the translations from old especially written by Mrs. Alexander breviaries and monkish authors, and for the last-named book. One of these, the selection of original compositions. "The breast-plate of St. Patrick," is It has already been noted that Cranadapted from an old Irish hymn, and mer's intention to introduce English is a gem of which the Church of Ire- hymns, including translations from the land may well be proud. As it is little ancient and mediæval service-books, known to English readers, the quota- was largely superseded by the introtion of one verse may be permitted: duction of metrical psalms. The “Veni
Creator,” nevertheless, kept its place I bind this day to me for ever,
in the Ordination service, and many By pow'r of faith, Christ's incarnation;
English hymns, without being transHis baptism in Jordan river;
lations, were evidently influenced by His death on Cross for my salvation; the ancient verses. Concurrently with His bursting from the spiced tomb; the Tractarian attempt to revive the
His riding up the heav'nly way; discipline and usages of the mediæval His coming at the day of doom;
Church, came increased interest in its I bind unto myself to-day.
hymnody, and many translations from We have now to consider what steps Greek and Latin originals were made the compilers of Hymns Ancient and by the Rev. J. M. Neale, the Rev. E. Modern have taken to keep that widely Caswall, and others. known volume in the forefront of A number of these, varying in merit, hymnals competing for the favor of were included in the first edition of English Churchmen.
Hymns Ancient and Modern, and those No better tribute to its hold upon which, like “Jerusalem the golden” and popular affection could be found than "Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding," the chorus of protest which arose added poetic beauty to devotional upon the mere rumor that its contents sentiment, soon justly made their had been tampered with; few were way into the affections of the people. willing to concede the simple fact that others, whatever may have been their it is the property of a body of private merit in their classical garb, were alindividuals, and not of the Church as most disregarded, and might have been a whole. Granting, however, to the omitted in the new edition without ex. fullest extent that the compilers are citing a single protest. It is hardly too within their legal and moral rights in much to say that these very composiadding, removing, and altering hymns tions appear to have been those whicb at their own discretion, the public have received the most devoted atten. have an equal right to criticise freely tion from the present compilers, who tell us, no doubt with perfect truth, the new book. We can only note with that “immense labor has been spent sorrow that in her excursions through on improving the translations.” One these pages Piety seems to have discan almost see these earnest students carded her "handmaid" Poetry, and to toiling with pen and paper, discussing have enlisted in her stead that clerkly minute points of scholarship, compar- retainer Scholarship, and we may be ing their versions word by word and thankful that a certain number of line by line, till they produce, not a translations have been left untouched song of praise nor a cry of penitence, by the hand of the reviser. but a sixth-form exercise corrected by It is harder to discuss the original a' conscieutious master. They have compositions included in the new book, been digging in a mine instead of tend. as the power of hymns over the mind ing a garden.
of man is largely influenced by associaTake, for instance, “Veni Redemptor tion. There are hymns wbich we regentium." How often was it sung peated as children, and whose words in the former translation, and how far became dear to us almost before we is the present version suited for use in grasped their meaning; byions which, an ordinary congregation ?
sung by the village choir, brought to It would be difficult to conceive a our childish faith visions of a happy choir practising the new version of "A land not far removed from the pleassolis ortus cardine"-"From east to ant meadows which we crossed on west, from shore to shore”; but the our way to church; hymns which in the most extraordinary fate has befallen perplexities of youth whispered their a rather pretty hymn from the Paris messages of hope, of warning, of enBreviary, "Divine crescebas Puer." couragement; hymns wbich ever reThis was efficiently rendered in the main to us as echoes of the gladness former book by the Rev. J. Chandler, of the wedding-day or the mournful the translation of the fourth verse be shadows of the tomb. There are the ing not devoid of beauty:
triumphant strains with which we
greeted Christmas and Easter, and the He whom the choirs of angels praise,
solemn requiem with which we Bearing each dread decree,
watched by Calvary. His earthly parents now obeys
As we glance through the new book In deep humility.
and compare it with the volume so The compilers, bowever, espied a fault familiar to thousands during the past either in the theology or the accuracy, forty years, the thought cannot but of these words, and with “inimense arise that the changes have been made labor" evolved the following in their by men who have lost touch to a great place:
extent with human sentiment, or who,
in their anxiety to enforce Church docHe at whose word swift angels fly,
trines, have forgotten the old couplet: His dread commands to bear, Obeys in deep humility
A verse may find him who a serinon A siniple carpenter.
And turn delight into a sacrifice. Comment is surely superfluous.
It were a thankless task to collect How else can we explain the omission further instances of the lack of lyric of “O Paradise! O Paradise!" whose inspiration, of clumsy diction, and of loss is lamented by numbers of men failures in rhyme and rhythm in what and women who seem to have clung to may be called the “classical side" of it as "the Lord's song in a strange
land?” What induced the excision of of the Middle Ages concerning the “Now, beloved Lord, Thy soul resign- number of angels who could dance on ing"? and of Heber's hymn, instinct the point of a needle. with poetry, "When through the torn One or two hymns, such as “Crossing sail the wild tempest is streaming"? the bar" and "Alone Thou trodd'st the Almost stranger than the omissions are winepress," are welcome additions, but the curious changes made in hymns it is impossible to contend that the added and retained. The compilers average of the newcomers is high, and bave wisely included for the first time this is the more to be regretted when Heber's beautiful “There was joy in there are so many fine hymns wbich heaven"; but why alter the closing have never found a place in the collines? “The sheep that went astray" lection. To mention only two or three, is more dramatic and more true to there are Dean Milman's “Bound upon Scripture than “The soul that went the accursed tree" and "Brother, thou astray," and the whole quatrain, as the art gone before us,” Addison's "The author wrote it, is more consonant with spacious firmament on high,” and a the preceding verses. There is seldom spirited hymn by Charles Wesley: an excuse for changing original words
Christ the Lord is risen to-day. -certainly not those of a true poet like
Sons of men and angels say. Bisbop Heber.
"Outside a city wall,” for Mrs. Alex. The revised volume is supposed to ander's “Without a city wall," in be especially strong in mission hymns;
There is a green hill,” is another un presumably it was too much to expect pardonable alteration,
that room should be found for “There The crowning sin in the new edition
were ninety and nine" and "Jesus of is, however, the reversion to the orig
Nazareth passeth by." Both these are inal “Hark how all the welkin rings,"
in Sankey's collection; the former is which has been the occasion of so re included in Church Hymns and other markable a burst of indignation. Con hymnals. secrated by the usage of over a hun
Since two or three hymns for time dred years, "Hark! the herald-angels” of war find place in the new Ancient had surely become a heritage in the
and Modern, what a grand addition Christian Church with which no man
would be Rudyard Kipling's "Hymn should have lightly interfered. It may before Action”! The verse "Ah. Mary be noted that this is the opening line
pierced with sorrow" must needs be of the hymn in the Methodist Hymn.
omitted, but how true to the spirit of book, and we need hardly be more
the Christian Warrior are the linesWesleyan than the Wesleyans. The defences put forward for the change From panic, pride, and terror, are remarkable. One of the compilers Revenge that knows no rein, is reported to have said that "herald
Light haste and lawless error,
Protect us yet again. angels" was incorrect, as one angel was
Cloak Thou our undeserving, the herald and the others only joined
Make firm the shuddering breath, in afterwards. If this purist had ever In silence and unswerving heard a proclamation by several To taste Thy lesser death! heralds he might have discovered that one generally makes the announce. It is stated in the preface to Hymns ment and his companions blow trum. Ancient and Modern that in 1892 negopets or otherwise express concurrence. tiations took place between the coinBut such an argument is akin to that pilers and Convocation, probably with a view to giving some kind of im- book containing, first, all the ancient primatur to a volume founded on this and medieval hymns of the Universal collection. It is remarkable that, alone Church; and secondly, selected modern among the principal Reformed Church- hymns, but only those which have es of the Empire, the Church of Eng. “issued from a Churchman's heart and land has no sort of authorized hymnal. head." It is not quite clear whether In this it somewhat resembles the Wesley's would be excluded under this Roman Church in this country, whose rule, but it is certain that “Nearer, collections of English hymns are used my God, to Thee," written by a Bap(chiefly at Benediction) at the discre- tist, and "There's a friend for little tion of individual clergy.
children," by a Plymouth Brother, Twelve years spent in revision seem would be ostracised. hardly to have rendered Hymns Ancient These questions, however, may be and Modern more fitted in popular esti: safely left to the discretion of our mation for official recognition, and the spiritual Fathers. In conclusion we dignitaries of our Church may shrink would ask,– What is a true hymn? Is from the almost impossible task of de-. it not the voice of man's heart speakciding what hymnal is best suited to ing to the Eternal Spirit in adoration, the varying requirements of their in supplication, in humble faith, exflocks in both hemispheres. They will pressed in words the most simple, yet certainly be disinclined to comply with the most dignified, the most musical, such demands as that of the Editor and the most truthful which the mind of the Historical Companion to Hymns of man can conceive and the spirit Ancient and Modern, who wishes for a which is in man inspire? The Nineteenth century and After.
M. E. Jersey.
LIFE'S LITTLE DIFFICULTIES.
Miss Vesta Swan to the Thalia and The Thalia and Erato Press to Erato Press, Ltd.
Miss Vesta Swan. Dear Sirs, I am sending you by Dear Madam,-Our Reader reports registered post the MS. of a volume of that he has read White Pinings with poems, entitled White Pininys, in the much interest, and that in his opinion hope that you will like them sufficient the book is in every way worthy of ly to undertake their publication. The publication. Poetry is, however, as you poems are entirely original, and have perhaps are not unaware, not read as never before (with one exception) it used to be. This apathy is the re been printed. It was once my inten- sult, some think, of the interest in the tion to print them from time to time war, but according to others is due to in the better class weekly papers, but the fashion of Bridge. Be it as it may, after a while that idea was abandoned. no great sale can be expected for such The exception is the rondeau called a book, and our Reader therefore sug“Coral Toes," which appeared in the gests that you should combine with us Baby's Friend, but there would be no in this enterprise. Of course if the difficulty about copyright, I am sure, book is successful your outlay would
Yours truly, Vesta Swan, come back to you multiplied many
Dear Sirs,-I am glad to know that your Reader thinks so highly of my book. Would it be indiscreet to ask his name?-there are two or three points concerning the poems which I sliould like to put to him.
I am aware that the ordinary run of poetry is not profitable, but there are shining examples of success. I have just been reading the Life of the late Lord Tennyson. who seeins to have been quite wealthy, although he wrote comparatirely little: and I gather that the Brownings also were well-to-do. One of my friends considers my style not uulike a blend of both Robert and E. B., although (being a woman) naturally more like the latter. I understand also that both Mr: Swinburne and Sir Lewis Morris are quite comfortably off. So that there are exceptions.
I sbould say also that w. P. is not. as you think, my first book. I published in 1896, through a firm at Win chester, a little collection called Heart Beals, a copy of which was sent to her late Majesty Queen Victoria.
None the less, as I believe in my work and wish others to have the opportunity of being cbeered by it, I will pay the £50. Please put the book in haud at once, as I want it to come out with the April buds.
Dear Sir, -I should very much like to have your opinion of the “Lines written at midnight after hearing Miss Clara Butt sing 'The Lost Chord.'” Do you think the faulty grammar in line 4 of stanza 2–“loud," the adjective, for "loudly," the adverb-is permissible? I have already spent some time in polishing this poem, but I have so high an opinion of your judgment that I am ready to begin again if you say I should. And do you think the title should be merely White Pinings or that it should have the sub-heading —“Sighs of a Priestess of Modernity ?” One of my friends, a young journalist, favors the latter very warmly.
I might add that I have a very kind letter from the secretary of Sir Thomas Lipton, who read the poenis in MS., praising them in no measured terms. Do you think it would do the book good if we were to print this letter in fac-simile at the beginning? I am.
Yours truly, Vesta Swan. [Several letters omitted.]
Miss Vesta Swan to the Thalia and
Stop printing. Serious misprint page 41. “Heave on coal" should be “Heaven our goal."