Saturday, October 31, 2009


This great hymn by William W. How, (from Hymns for Saint's Days, and Other Hymns, 1864) will be sung all over the world tomorrow. Organists will play Vaughan Williams' matchless tune loudly and triumphantly, and many a parish will have a procession with banners unfurled in honour of the saints. For many years I have used the verses not usually found in hymn books (in this colour below) for their teaching value, and to make the hymn long enough on its own for a decent procession. I don't think that verse 3 (the one about Our Lady) was part of How's hymn. Maybe some reader can tell me if I'm correct - and, if so, who wrote it. Anyway, because some might find the extra verses useful, I thought I'd share the hymn with you today in its entirety.

(The illustration above is by Enid Chadwick, whose work is everywhere at the Anglican Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham in England.)

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!


Unknown said...

Are you referring to the verse about Our Lady when you say the third verse wasn't likely part of the original? Stylistically it doesn't seem to quite match the others.

Anonymous said...

Yes . . . that's what I thought. Also, I've got an old photocopy of the words with verses 4,5, & 6, but NOT verse 3.

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