Unlike many of the hymn-writers of the time, he was not a clergyman. Born in Bristol, he became manager of a marine insurance company in Glasgow, but in 1865 was struck down by a severe illness. While recovering, he wrote a number of hymns, including these two.
His many other hymns include As with gladness, men of old and To Thee, O Lord our hearts we raise.
The familiar tune Hyfrydol was composed by Rowland Huw Prichard (1811-1887) and published in 1830. It should be pronounced “huh-vruh-dol”.
Prichard was a native of Graienyn, near Bala, he lived most of his life in the area, serving for a time as a loom tender's assistant in Holywell, where he died. In 1844 Prichard published Cyfaill y Cantorion (The Singer's Friend), a song book intended for children.
None of his other tunes are familiar today
ALLELUYA, sing to Jesus, His the sceptre, his the throne;
Alleluya, his the triumph, His the victory alone:
Hark the songs of peaceful Sion thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus, out of every nation, hath redeemed us by his blood.
Alleluya, not as orphans are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluya, he is near us, faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received him when the forty days were o’er,
Shall our hearts forget his promise, ‘I am with you evermore?’
Alleluya, Bread of Angels, Thou on earth our food, our stay;
Alleluya, here the sinful flee to thee from day to day;
Intercessor, Friend of sinners, earth’s Redeemer, plead for me,
Where the songs of all the sinless sweep across the crystal sea.
Alleluya, King eternal, Thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluya, born of Mary, earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne:
Thou within the veil hast entered, robed in flesh, our great High Priest;
Thou on earth both Priest and Victim in the Eucharistic Feast.
The words were published in 1871 in Christmas Carols Old and New where they were coupled with the traditional English tune Greensleeves. Some people think that this tune was written by King Henry VIII, but the style of composition suggests that it is more likely to be Elizabethan. It was familiar to William Shakespeare, who mentioned it in The Merry Wives of Windsor (published in 1602). It has been associated with Christmas and New Year texts from as early as 1686.
What child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.
Why lies he in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary.
So bring him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary.
For each hymn we have provided a set of verses together with an electronically generated sound-track. The sound track does not provide any words - just the tune.
The selection of hymns to be included was subject to certain limitations, notably the restrictions of copyright. This meant that many modern hymns were excluded, and the exclusion even applied to some updated versions of traditional hymns. Some publishers have made a few minor changes to make hymns more "inclusive" and have then claimed copyright over the revised text. So in most cases the ORIGINAL texts have been used, even though these may not be the versions that appear in modern hymnals.
In deciding what tunes to be used, this has largely been the Webmaster's personal choice. It is a mixture of familiar tunes and tunes that are not well-known, but deserve to be better known. The webmaster has included some personal favourites (and excluded some pet hates!). The soundtracks provided go with the words provided - if there are four verses, the tune is repeated four times. Where possible tunes have been provided with descants or alternative arrangements.
Wherever possible, there is an explanation of who wrote the words or tunes, the circumstances under which they were written, when (and sometimes why). Many hymns include references to verses appearing in the King James Version of the Bible; more modern translations were not then available! In some cases we have tried to explain these scriptural references or other instances where words have changed their meaning over time.
This selection of "Sing-along Songs of Praise" was originally a series of blog posts written during the COVID Lockdowns of 2020. It was intended to allow people to sing hymns in the safety and privacy of their own homes at a time when hymn-singing in church was not allowed (even if the church building was open!).
When hymns are sung as part of a church service, it is normally the case that the hymn books are set aside at the end of the hymn and the next part of the service continues. There is no time to sit and reflect on the meaning or the beauty of words and/or music. This collection allows you to take your time, to read, listen sing along, reflect, and to repeat a hymn again if you wish.
The picture of the chalice is symbolic of:
"A joyful image of a Eucharistic community which knows how to celebrate God's goodness to us but also how to reach out to the community and connect with those in need, in pain, in difficulty, who feel lost or neglected, or that they don't belong."
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