Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What a great Hymn!

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs 
by Fra Angelico (1423-1424) 
(in the National Gallery, London)

Sometimes even long-ish processional hymns are not quite long enough - especially if the altar is to be incensed at the end of the procession. So, with All Saints' Day almost upon us, in case any readers are looking at ways of lengthening the hymn “For all the Saints”, here it is with the missing verses, and one for Our Lady as well! 

“For all the Saints” was written as a processional hymn by William Walsham How (1823-1897), Bishop of Wakefield, and was first published in Hymns for Saints’ Days, and Other Hymns in 1864. The verses honouring the Apostles, Evangelists and Martyrs were certainly part of the original. The one for our Lady is a later addition.

For all the Saints who from their labours rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesu, be for ever blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might,
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou in the darkness drear their one true  Light.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

For Ever-blessed Mary, — full of grace,
Mother of God, and Queen of all thy Saints, —
With her to thee “Magnificat” we raise.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company, —
Who, bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, — we sing to thee,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, — by whose pure word,
Like fourfold stream, the Garden of the Lord
Is fair and fruitful, — be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

For Martyrs, — who with rapture-kindled eye
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And dying, grasped it, — thee we glorify.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the Saints who nobly fought of old,
And win, with them, the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O blest communion! fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest:
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The Saints triumphant rise in bright array:
The King of glory passes on his way.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Alleluia! Alleluia!


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