New Hymn Text: The Beatific Vision
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 548
    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: 1,137
    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
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,218
    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: 1,137
    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: 4,347
    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: 548
    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
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,218
    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: 4,347
    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: 4,014
    slant rhyme....Stephen Sondheim could teach master classes about when the use thereof is most and least apt...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,347
    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: 548

    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.