Come You Sinners
  • Text: Joseph Hart

    756 in W3.

    Fits perfect for OT 31.

    I like this hymn, but the refrain always gives me pause: "In the arms of my dear Savior; O there are ten thousand charms." What are your thoughts on that line in use today?
    Has anyone found a good work around? Is a work around needed?
  • I generally oppose editing hymns, mostly because poetry, theology and beauty are usually what are removed. I'm not sure that I would use a hymn which spoke of "charms" in Our Savior's arms.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,631
    There are versions which do not to have that line. here
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,889
    Yes, there is at least one recent example that shows the omission of the refrain in which that is the concluding phrase:

    Early versions of the hymn lacked any refrain; it seems to have been added circa 1899. That said, musically, the stump of the hymn that remains is missing the satisfying* contrast (musical and spiritual) that the refrain was designed to provide. One could fiddle with the phrase to be something about being safe or secure from harms, but I am not sure it would be worth the effort.

    * E.g., in the Evangelical altar call context. Or at a Catholic penance service during individual confessions.
  • Were the two links to Hymnary supposed to supply the hymn with alternate last line or completely without refrain? I cannot find the former, though your suggestion, Liam, would work.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,889
    My link was only to the specific instance I was referring to. AFH's was to the overall page in Hymnary for that hymn: if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll see a compendium embedded with examples, from most recent (left) permitted to be included to most ancient (scroll right), typically in public domain. There are a lot of examples for that hymn. When you click on an example, you can often click on the next page of the hymnal that is being illustrated.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 281
    You could do a little research on the poet sometimes this can give you insight as to why the author chose that particular poetic imagery. Given however that the poem has the prodigal son in mind, the "ten-thousand charms" could refere to the many graces we receive from our Lord or the warmth, affection and sense of security "charms" we would feel in the arms of our own father. Another hymn "I Need Thee Gracious Jesus" has similar poetic imagery "though I fall ten-thousand times, I'll fear not but confide". Like Chris, I am a strong supporter of not changing the text.
    Thanked by 1oldhymns
  • Don,

    I agree that "charms" are graces. I wondered if it was prudent to change it in our current culture to reflect that understanding and avoid confusion. Come Thou Font comes to mind when I think of good text changes to old hymn: "here I raise mine Ebenezer. . . " Changes made to hymns to fit a collective agenda I do not appreciate.
    Thanked by 2Don9of11 cesarfranck
  • I once, at a Tennessee gift shop, purchased on a whim a CD. It was produced by the Appalachian Association of Shape Note Singers, and it was entitled Ten Thousand Charms. I had never heard of shape-note singing before; after hearing that, I think the quantity of pleasure as mentioned in the title is a conservative estimate.
  • Leave hymns alone, do not edit, change or alter them. Either use them as is, or not at all. As a composer AND poet myself, I would be furious if someone did that to one of my hymns. Personally, this hymn has special and deep meaning to me. If this hymn and tune does fit your theology and doctrines, leave it alone and find something else or compose a new one. And YES, charms refer to "Graces" from the Lord. As a Kentucky boy with deep family roots from the Appalachians, its my understanding this is its meaning. And for those that have never been in a service where shape note singing or other forms of sacred Appalachian mountain singing occurred, I can assure you that these hymns and melodies can be extraordinarily powerful with extreme influence on one's mind, heart and soul.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 281

    Who exactly will be confused? You can of course change it but i think we need to use the poets language. In many instances we change a word or phrase because we dont want to offend or as you say to "avoid confusion or fit a collective agenda" for the cause of ecumenism or some other reason. So many beautiful hymns were removed from hymnals for these reasons. Sorry for getting on my soap box.

    There are times when it's necessary for example in the hymn "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary" the poet chose the word "worship" ..."all her feasts, her actions worship". Here the text is incorrect because we don't worship Mary and I have seen "honor" used as a substitute which is most acceptable.

    I dont think "charms" is confusing. I think if anything it will cause parishioners to stop and think perhaps even draw them deeper into the mystery the poet was alluding to. You just need to be prepared for it. I will admit that the word speaks of a different age and expression but a hymn by St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Benard would speak of a different age and expression. Sing it as it is written and see what happens.

    Hope that helps.
  • "Charms" within the culture where this comes from, also refers to the Holy Spirits' "ecstatic" influence. That said, I agree to the references to the Prodigal Son of this text.
  • I think it sets a dangerous precedent to edit out potentially confusing phrases rather than seeking to increase understanding of their proper context. So many aspects of our faith can be inexplicable or unnecessary to outsiders, but acquire exceptional beauty and profundity when they are properly understood. Poetic texts should be treated the same way, rather than bowdlerized.
  • Ken,

    So, what do you think of Stephen Foster's My Old Kentucky Home, in its "revised" version?
  • Never assume that 'the people' can't or don't understand something just because it is archaic or dated in its expression.
    If we can understand something then we should assume that our people can as well.
    Always add to and build them, never subtract from them or deny them growth.
    I could not agree more with Ken's sentiments.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,196
    We had to change the wording to "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need," on orders of the chancery. We were told to no longer use the phrase, "Jehovah is his name." So we inserted "most holy is his name" and continued to sing this familiar American hymn/anthem. Same for Yahweh.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,889
    That actually came down from the papacy of Benedict XVI in 2008 from Cardinal Ranjinth as head of the CDWS, implemented in the USA via this communication:
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • JGH
    Posts: 1
    Don9of11 thinks we “need” to “use the poet’s language” but also that it is “necessary” not to use the poet’s language in Daily, daily because, he says, it is “incorrect” (on the basis that “worship” univocally denotes latria).

    “Incorrect” is a bold assessment. Can it be read other than as implying that Henry Bittleston had a much mistaken Mariology or that he was a singularly inapt wordsmith? What does it suggest about the other Oratory fathers – including Card. Neman – and the censors of any number of hymnals who allowed the error to slip by?

    A more modest claim might have been to suggest that the lyric could be emended to avoid the potential for misunderstanding. However, “honour” – which Don9of11 regards as a “most acceptable” substitute – strikes me as rather anaemic in a hymn which Fr Rutler describes as “marvellously raucous”.

    Bittleston is translating Omni die’s “colo” which can refer to latria or dulia. So can worship. Otherwise, I would not envy Don9of11 the task of interrupting happy couples to explain that the bodily worship mentioned in their wedding vows is actually idolatrous!
  • JGH,

    That text, about "with my body I thee worship" isn't in anything I know in America. In fact, it may never have made the trans-Atlantic crossing for precisely the reason under discussion.

    In England, however, where the language is wielded more effectively by school children and coalminers than it is here in the States by most college graduates, "worship" can have shades of meaning.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 281

    I happen to look through my copy of Fr. Rutler's book "The Stories of Hymns" which by the way is an excellent book and is complimented even more so with the DVD's of his program about these hymns which aired on EWTN. The text of the hymn printed in his book uses the phrase "all her feasts, her actions honor" and you're quite correct he does say the hymn is "a marvelously raucous hymn to our Lady" he also later writes "The monks of Cluny would have been innocently delighted with the updated version, which is especially suitable for processions." I have also seen in the Choral Companion by WLP, the word "cherish" used "all her feasts, her actions cherish".

    There is another hymn that can be found in the May Blossom's hymnal by the SND entitled "Our Lady of the Sacred Heart". My friend Oldhymns pointed it out to me because it uses the word "charms" and "woo'd". "Sweet Lady of the Sacred Heart, thy peerless virgin CHARMS, woo'd Jesus from His heav'nly throne, To rest within thine arms" If we were to sing this hymn today you would need to explain not only "Charms" but "woo'd" as well.

    I feel that when hymns are used in the Mass they need to be looked at through the lens of our Catholic teachings, that is why I expressed that "honor" was a suitable and effective substitute for that particular hymn.

    Regarding "bodily worship", I am unfamiliar with this and have never encountered it in any Catholic wedding service.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,631
    Debretts Etiquette>FORMS OF ADDRESS>Professions>Local Government
    Other mayors, with the exception of directly elected mayors (see below) are addressed as ‘The Right Worshipful or ‘The Worshipful’. The policy of individual local councils should be checked on appropriate websites. In all cases the courtesy title ‘The Right Worshipful or ‘The Worshipful’ should precede the individual’s position in the council: eg ‘The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Edward Pollen’ or ‘The Worshipful the Mayor of Brighton, Councillor Emma Brewer’.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,631
    Well it's in (back in) a Catholic rite now :
    page 10
    He sprinkles the ring[s] with holy water. And the Priest or Deacon, taking the ring, shall give it to the man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the woman's left hand. And the man, holding the ring there, and taught by the Priest or Deacon, shall say: With this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee worship; and all my worldly goods with thee I share: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Likewise, the woman may receive the ring for the bridegroom and shall put it on her husband’s ringfinger, saying: With this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee worship; and all my worldly goods with thee I share: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    In the 1990s ICEL informally suggested to the Vatican authorities that they could incorporate more of the Sarum Marriage elements in the Rite, such as the Blessing of the Nuptial Bed. However the suggestion was not well received.

    [I edited the link to correct a typo.--admin]
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Many good thoughts above. I do believe in bringing people up and not lowering expectations. I am not ready to throw that sticky word, "pastoral," in the trash yet, though. I am curious if your thoughts about changing that particular line would be swayed by further background:

    We are a Michigan parish (read: not Southern! ) It is in one of the most diverse cities in our state. (The local high school population represents over 200 nations. It gives me goosebumps any time scripture referencing "all peoples" or "all nations" adoring God while I look out on the congregation.) In one mass I will see people from differing African nations, Burma, Viet Nam, Phillipines, Laos, India,- They are first and second generation in the States. Some are still learning English.

    Any thoughts or still keep the original poetry?
    Thanked by 2cesarfranck Carol
  • CG-Z. . . Concerning Foster's song, "My Old Kentucky Home," that obviously doesn't belong in the Church. I am not here to debate the political correct of poets. I am just stating that in my opinion, works of art, regardless of the medium, should not be altered. Arrangements and other works built on an original are a different matter. That particular song / poem, reflects a time and culture that is vastly different from today. As an institution and peoples hopefully becomes more enlightened and educated, I would hope that the uses of some art works become re-evaluated as to usage.

    Perhaps Kentucky should do so. But that's not my call. Likewise, I would hope and pray that the Church would become more educated about many songs and art works currently in use today and then dropped from usage! (i.e. modernist ego centric so called religious muzak unworthy for the worship of GOD). Likewise, perhaps Foster's song should now be shelved to the realms of history.

    To paraphrase an infinitely more wise person than myself, "give unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's and unto GOD, that which belongs to GOD." I hope like Jesus, I haven't fallen into your trap!
  • Ken,

    I used to live in Louisville. I have some very fond memories. [Having a colleague from the CSA who didn't want his children born across the river in enemy territory is just the most amusing].

    I agree with you that "My Old Kentucky Home" shouldn't be used in the church.
    I also don't wish to debate the political correctness of poets.
    You and I agree that texts should be sung as written, rather than as well-meaning barbarians would have them edited.
    I think you and I agree that some pieces of music might simply need to be retired from service. Since "My Old Kentucky Home" shouldn't have been in service in the first place, within the context of Mass, it should be retired anywhere it is in use.

  • Chris - were you born in Louisville or a KY native? I was and know it extremely well. I was even once the music director at THE Dominican church who advertises in another thread and was baptized at that same church along with having several family members who attended there decades before me. I have many many memories of StLB, St Martin, the Cathedrals, of Bardstown St Joseph and the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity too. My foot prints are all over that city and state - lol. I knew Arch. Bp Kelly and other clergy there well.
  • Ken,
    I'm not a KY native. I was born in upstate New York. I know St. Louis Bertrand, St. Martin's.
    I am more and more impressed by how small the universe is.