Friday, May 22, 2009

promptings top ten hymns countdown - 8, 7

(This is my second post of favorite hymns for Semicolon's top 100 hymns project. The first is here.)

8. "Be Thou My Vision" - 8th Century
Tune - Traditional Irish tune "Slane"

"In the eighth century an unknown Irish poet wrote a prayer asking God to be his Vision, his Wisdom and his Best Thought by day or by night.

In 1905, Mary Elizabeth Bryne, a scholar in Dublin Ireland, translated this ancient Irish poem into English. Another scholar, Eleanor Hull of Manchester England took Byrne's translation and crafted it into verses with rhyme and meter. Shortly thereafter it was set to a traditional Irish folk song, "Slane," named for an area in Ireland where Patrick reportedly challenged local Druids with the Gospel."

7. "Holy Holy Holy" - 1826
by Reginald Heber (1783-1826)

Reginald Heber, a graduate of Oxford and a friend of Sir Walter Scott enjoyed poetry. His desire to publish a collection of his hymns was nixed by the Bishop of London at the time, but Heber kept writing anyway.

One hymn he wrote, "From Greenland's Icy Mountains" expressed another desire of his, to go to "India's coral strand." In 1822, at age 40, he was sent to India to oversee the Church of England's ministries. One day in 1826 after spending hours preaching in the hot sun, he went for a swim in cool water, suffered a stroke and drowned. His widow discovered a collection of 57 hymns in his trunk. The majestic hymn"Holy, Holy, Holy" was one of them.

Here it is sung by Keith Green - another man who died in his prime.

Hymn stories are quoted or adapted from Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan.


Robert said...

Thanks for sharing some of your favourite hymns. To learn more about the writing of Reginald Heber's great hymn, "From Greenland's Icy Mountains," check out my blog, Wordwise Hymns for May 30th. As a hymn-lover, I think you'd enjoy the site. And we Canadians gotta stick together! :-)

God bless.

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