• Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,966
    Thomas Hardy wrote verses titled


    We never sang together
    Ravenscroft’s terse old tune
    On Sundays or on weekdays,
    In sharp or summer weather,
    At night-time or at noon.

    Why did we never sing it,
    Why never so incline
    On Sundays or on weekdays,
    Even when soft wafts would wing it
    From your far floor to mine?

    Shall we that tune, then, never
    Stand voicing side by side
    On Sundays or on weekdays? . . .
    Or shall we, when for ever
    In Sheol we abide,

    Sing it in desolation,
    As we might long have done
    On Sundays or on weekdays
    With love and exultation
    Before our sands had run?

    I'm perplexed as Ravenscroft's Psalm 104 seems to be in meter, and searching hymnary.org for turns up nothing that might be mistaken for the "terse old tune" (though there are a couple of amusing things). Has anyone else gotten to the bottom of this?
  • Hmmm -
    What a conundrum indeed
    Is this right puzzling rhyme!
    One can't sing it, I will plead,
    With its proper tune allied -
    Despair is theirs who've tried.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,205
    Could it be that Thomas Hardy was not trying to write in the meter of OLD 104TH? That would be my best (but sheer) guess.

  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,519
    We will probably never figure it out until one of us gets a chance to look at the Hardy family MS tune-books that they used when playing with the parish choir--there could well by a tune, rightly or wrongly attributed to Ravenscroft, in one of those books that would fit Hardy's description.

    Anything written for Psalm 104 would either set the text from the Old Version (Sternhold & Hopkins) in; or from the New Version (Tate & Brady) in LM. (The version in Watts's "Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament" is also in LM)

    I have some gallery books published by Dave Townsend that draw from the various MSS of the Hardy Family and the parishes where they played--I'll give a look tonight and see if I can find anything.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,631
    I found a hymn tune index http://hymntune.library.uiuc.edu/XComp.asp?B1=Find+Tunes&box2=Ravenscroft,+Thomas&records=2&number=2 which contains the following entry, but 5 5 5 5 6 5 6 5 is just 10 10 11 11 differently presented.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,205
    I've seen the 55. 55. 65. 65 assignation for this tune, too.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 241
    Doesn't the title simply suggest lines 'about' the old 104? If I stop thinking like a musician, that's how I read it. As in, a treatise 'on'...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,205
    My point exactly, MarkS.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 116
    The peculiar meter of the verses above reminds me of another composition I found once:

    There was a young woman named Jenny
    Whose limericks were not worth a penny;
    Her rhythm and rhyme
    Were perfectly fine,
    But whenever she tried to write any,
    She always wrote one line too many.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 652
    Is he putting words to one of the parts, or to two parts at once? The bass seems to have more notes.