Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Notes on the inversion of stanza 5 of Charles Wesley's 1739 "Hymn for Christmas Day" ("Hark how all the welkin rings," changed by George Whitefield to "Hark! the herald angels sing" in 1753), IN PROGRESS

     Hat tip:  Dr. Jennifer Woodruff Tait, who first alerted me to this via a post on Facebook dated 26 December 2010.  In all of the 25-or-so years I spent in Episcopal churches, I never noticed the inversion.
     In a Facebook post dated 21 July 2014, Jan Biondo noted that what has been true of Episcopalian hymnals since 1827 at the very latest is not, in her experience, true of "Anglican" hymnals.  Having checked Common praise:  a new edition of Hymns ancient and modern (2000), the original edition of Hymns ancient and modern (1860-1861), and a small random sample of Church of England hymnals in between, I can confirm this.  Church of England hymnals do indeed tend to leave the lines of stanza five in the original Wesleyan order of 1739 (below).  (So blame the Americans only, not the mother church.)

1739, Hymns and sacred poems, p. 207, according to the critical edition ed. Maddox and Maddox:

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,

Ris’n with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by. . . .

1823, Church poetry:  being portions of the Psalms in verse, and hymns suited to the festivals and fasts, and various occasions of the church.  Selected and altered from various authors, by Wm. Augustus Muhlenberg, Associate Rector of St. James's Church, Lancaster (Philadelphia:  S. Potter & Co., J. Maxwell, Printer, 1823), 117 (where there are other significant modifications):

Hail, the heav’n born prince of peace!
Hail, the sun of righteousness!
Ris’n with healing in his wings.
Light and life to all he brings.


1824 October 

1827Hymns of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United States of America.  Set forth in General Conventions of said Church, in the years of our Lord, 1789, 1808, and 1826, #45, p. 30 (followed by no stanza 6).  This is probably the 1826 hymnal referenced on p. 87 of vol. 3A of The hymnal 1982 companion of 1990:

Ris'n with healing in his wings,
Light and life to all he brings;
Hail the Sun of righteousness,
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

1844 April (1843 December):  "In the collection of our Protestant Episcopal brethren, (certified by B. T. Onderdonk, 1832,) our four hundred and ninetieth is very ingeniously altered, and as it is one of the few alterations that can honestly be deemed improvements, we would accept it" (F., in the Methodist quarterly review 26 (3rd ser. 4), no. 2 (April 1844):  197, reviewing an edition of A collection of hymns for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church . . .).

1892 (©1889), according to The hymnal 1982 companion, the first year stanza 6 appears, but now before stanza 5:

Mild He lays His glory by, . . .

Ris'n with healing in His wings,
Light and life to all He brings,

Hail, the Sun of righteousness!
Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

1982 (©1985), The hymnal 1982:

Mild he lays his glory by, . . .

Risen with healing in his wings,
light and life to all he brings,
hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Note:  Over time I hope to check the pre-1827 hymnals of all denominations as listed under this hymn in resources like The Hymn Tune Index, and would appreciate hearing from any who have already done some of this (or other related) work.

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