New Hymn Text: The Beatific Vision
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 876
    A hymn text I wrote for my Hymnody class project. Free to use without misattribution or alteration.

    The Beatific Vision

    1. Light of light, all light bestowing
    on Eve's daughters, Adam's sons:
    May I know but once Thy brightness,
    and be blinded, radiant One!
    Blind to all that would obscure Thee
    from my dim and sinful gaze:
    blind to all that still allures me
    from Thy love and from Thy ways.

    2. Like the man born blind I knew Thee,
    saw Thee not, but heard Thy voice:
    like the sheep that knows its Shepherd,
    heard Thee calling, and rejoiced!
    Through the gloom, heard Thee invite me
    though the night was bitter cold,
    knew Thy gentle hand would guide me
    to the safety of Thy fold.

    3. Some despised me for my blindness
    and reduced me to my sins,
    but my Maker, meek and humble,
    knelt beside me as a Friend:
    with the dirt that once defiled,
    with the spit that was my shame,
    forming clay, remade His child,
    made me whole and breathed my name.

    4. Then I followed Him, but faltered,
    unaccustomed to my sight:
    And although not all was darkness,
    Neither still was all yet light.
    For I'd found a deeper blindness,
    hidden veins of pride within:
    But I found yet greater kindness
    when He called my name again.

    5. Call at last then, Lord, and lift me
    to that height of heights wherein
    I'll behold Thy blazing glory
    and be blinded once again:
    Not with blindness meant to cover
    and disguise my sinful past,
    but the blindness of a lover
    who beholds his Love at last.

    Text: SMC, June 17, 2020 87.87D

    Yes, "child" is fudged. It sings well to me.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,256
    I'm no poet, but I think it's very fine, indeed. "Child" doesn't work for me, but perhaps that's got more to do with BEACH SPRING than it does with the word choice.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Just played it through to BETHANY, which is by Henry Smart. I think the text fits better with it than BEACH SPRING.

    It's a very nice text! Child works with BETHANY.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Really fine!
    I couldn't but make a comparison to several of John Donne's 'Holy Sonnets' as I read your poem.
    I agree with Irish Tenor about 'child' - that should be an 8 syllable line and doesn't work.
    And, I assume that you intend the '-ed' of 'defiled' (stanza3, line 5) to be voiced, for it is an 8 line.
    Your poem is surely inspired! I can't stop reading it.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,256
    If you want to poorly match this lovely text with a great tune, try MIT FREUDEN ZART. Every accent is in the wrong place LOL

    Edit: Upon trying it again, it's maybe not as bad as I thought, but still pretty bad :-)
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    As to the "child" dilemma, I'm not sure just how well this alteration fits, but at least it scans in the 8s & 7s metre:

        with the dirt that once was defiled once,
        with the spit that was my shame,
        forming clay, remade His child, thus
        made me whole and breathed my name.

    I am truly impressed by the quality of the text. My reaction is very much like MJO's, above. Splendid work!
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 876
    Thank you so much for your kind comments! The comparison to Donne bowls me over, Mr Osborn!

    The consensus definitely being in on "child," I'll look that over. Thanks for the suggestion, Mr Giffen. I'll play with it!

    The complication: the rhyme scheme is ABCBDEDE.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I like Chuck's solution to the child problem.
    Another possibility that occurred to me, which you probably would not want to opt for, though it is somewhat J.M. Nealean, is 'childling'. Admittedly, it hath about it an archaic tone - but then, I love archaicisms. For most ears nowadays, Chuck's solution is the more likely choice, and a good one at that.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    I had thought that "once" and "thus" were almost a rhyme. But ...

    Perhaps: "with the dirt that once defiled was," - since "was" and "thus" more nearly rhyme?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,689
    slant rhyme....Stephen Sondheim could teach master classes about when the use thereof is most and least apt...
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    As for tunes. I don't feel either BEACH SPRING or BETHANY does the text justice. Two or three other tunes immediately struck me, though

    One is an 87. 87. D adaptation of SALZBURG (which we know as a 77. 77. D tune), but which was also used as an 87. 87. 88. 77 tune, notably by Bach, in "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" (from whence we obtain the traditional harmonization).

    Another is "Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen" from the St. Matthew Passion - one of my favourite but lesser known/used 87. 87. D chorales:

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    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • with the dirt defiled in Eden
    with the spit that was my shame,
    formed from clay His Son begotten
    made me whole and breathed my name.

    Does that work?
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 876

    It is smooth and fluent, but I need a little more clarity in the sense.

    The idea is that Christ, per quem omnia..., takes our shame and defilement, makes clay, and forms man anew after His own likeness, just as He formed Man in the Garden.

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    Back on 19th June I wrote, "Two or three other tunes immediately struck me, though" and then I proceeded to list an 87. 87. D adaptation of SALZBURG as well as the Bach chorale "Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen" - without mentioning the third tune. In fact, I had just been working on an 87. 87. D reworking of my original 87. 87. 87 tune BEAUDRY. Immediately, I was struck at just how perfectly matched Sean's text and my new tune might be. I spent some time tweaking it here and there, which tweaks will also ultimately make it to the original, now OLD BEAUDRY (87. 87. 87).

    With Sean Connolly's approval, I am happy to share with all of you this new setting of his "The Beatific Vision" to my revamped tune BEAUDRY and hope that you will find it comforting and helpful.

    In a few minutes (3:15 pm CDT), the scrolling score video will premiere on YouTube:

    Here is the link:

    And here is an embedding of the video:

    width="1280" height="720">
    Thanked by 2GerardH marymezzo
  • Beautiful!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • OK, so will you share a pdf?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    Thank you, marymezzo! Here is a PDF score and an MP3 sound file for The Beatific Vision (as it appears in the video).

    In the last line of the third harmonization, note how the upward progression of the tenor-bass parts has intervals that widen over the five beats beginning in the second measure, a half-step wider at a time - from diminished fifth, through perfect fifth, minor sixth, diminished seventh (or major sixth), ending with a minor ninth at the beginning of the third measure - in which the push to the final cadence (and especially the descant flourish at the end) move us from "seeing through a glass darkly" to seeing our Maker "face-to-face".

    N.B. (2020-09-07): The misplaced comma (which should have been before "thus") in the third stanza has been fixed in the score.
  • My plebian brain went for Hyfrydol. Let the poet figure out his own problems - Belloc said that there are some words poets will go to their graves unsatisfied with, but still at a loss for a preferable solution.
  • Charles and Sean, thank you so much! I'm most grateful.
  • Actually, Charles, I think your poetic solution works well. But one thing: put the comma before "thus", not after.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017
    Oops, the comma slipped and fell after "thus" in the score. I intended it to be before "thus" as you suggest, Sean. I'll correct the score, but fixing the video might take some time (the comma is correctly placed in the text listed with the video). Thanks for the catch!
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • You bet!
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,017