New Eucharistic Hymn: In Thy True Presence Here
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    Greetings all,
    I thought I'd share my new eucharistic hymn text with you. I know it's too late for anyone else to use it for the Feast of Corpus Christi, but you can squirrel this away for later if you like. While I've composed an original hymn tune for this text, I've decided to reset it to the tune FESTAL SONG which is a nice pairing as well. My melody was a gentler one that repeated the fourth line of each verse (more appropriate for communion) whereas this tune makes for a better entrance hymn.

    The full text:

    In Thy True Presence here,
    we trust and do draw near;
    have mercy on us sinners, Lord,
    who weep in holy fear!

    Thou deignst to condescend,
    not as judge, but as friend!
    We marvel at the myst'ry, Lord,
    and ponder without end!

    Thy mercies never cease!
    May Thy worship increase;
    and grant that we may join Thee, Lord,
    and risèth in the East!

    Thy Body, Flesh, not wheat;
    Thy Blood, Elixir sweet!
    For but one drop can spare us, Lord,
    before the judgement seat!

    Thou spake and we believe;
    and to Thy Church we cleave!
    Thy grace She metes out freely, Lord,
    and eager we receive!

  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    Spelling error: elixir* I’ll fix it in a bit when I’m back at my computer.
  • CGM
    Posts: 508
    (also, "grant that we may join"
    also, what is "Thy Body Fles"?)
  • davido
    Posts: 448
    Flesh

    Why the switching between You and Thy for second person singular tense?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,530
    Stanza 3 needs an adjustment:

    grand that we may join Thee, Lord,
    and risèth in the East!

    Of course "grand" is a typo for "grant"'; but the verb is also mismatched (we riseth).
    Maybe:

    grant that we may join Thee, Lord,
    who risest in the East!

    But this reveals an inconsistency. Some stanzas use "you"; some use "thou".

  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    Yes, I know the discrepancy. The problem is "Thou" doesn't roll off the tongue nearly as well in this context. Also Thou/Thee/Thy are all used in different contexts. I can't say, "Thy deign to condescend."


    If I do Thou, then it would needs to change to,

    "Thou deignst to condescend."
    And
    "Thou spake and we believe."

    I don't know. I struggled on this particular issue. I guess I'll change them to "Thou".

    Also, "grant" is correct, and was in the PDF. I'll fix it above too. Thanks for all your eyes!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,318
    "Elixir" is very nice!
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 917
    Thou spak’st, surely?

    And perhaps to deign to condescend is a little redundant. Can one condescend without deigning to?

    I also like the fifth stanza.
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,917
    Your desire to express yourself with liturgical English is admirable - but...
    I stand to be corrected, but I think that 'spake' is not exactly a correct usage in line one of stanza five. I haven't a solution that keeps to your meter and syllabification. 'Thou speakest', or 'thou hast spoken' would be far better - but! to many syllables. Still - 'spake is not correct.

    Too, 'deignst' in stanza two needs to be 'deign'st'.

    Also - in stanza 3, what is it that 'riseth' in the east?

    Too, you have a metrical scheme of 6.6.8.6, but some lines have accents in wrong places or even have to many syllables. (Line 2 of stanza 3 for instance.)

    All these seem to upset a nobly thought out poem about a subject most sublime.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    MJO-
    It’s true that a few bits of this feel a little labored because you’re right: I’m a firm believer in liturgical english. If you sing it straight though in modern English it works, but it is just a little disappointing (as are all hymns, imho).

    As for “spake” it is indeed the archaic past tense form of spoke.

    Deign’st can easily be corrected. Interestingly that one rolls off the tongue as you sing it even though it looks like it might not when you read it.

    As for riseth in the east, this is a nod to us turning toward liturgical east, where from our Lord doth rise. The stanza is asking that [we] riseth in the East with Him.

    As for emPHAses being in the wrong place, I’ll have to think on this. I’m not sure if any of the lines could be rejigged to help with that. I am not a perfect poet, alas.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,304
    Archaic means old, and it's true spak or spake is a Middle English form of spakest, but that just invites the question of why you assign whete only one syllable.
    "Did'st speak" sounds more hieratically 'liturgical' to my ear.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    Indeed, it does sound better. Unfortunately it's not one syllable.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,304
    Thou spakeDid'st speak, and we believe;
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    Good idea but they all start with a thee or thou.

    How about:
    Thy Word we do believe
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,530
    May I suggest:

    Thou willst to condescend
    not as a judge, but friend
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,917
    'Thy word we do believe' is the perfect solution.
    Be sure to use lower case 'word', not upper case 'Word'.
    Jesus is the Word.
    Holy writ is the word.
    (Of course, you indeed may have meant the Word.)

    Chonak's solution is also nice, but since there is an implicit silent 'e' in willst, I would suggest 'will'st' as more fitting.

    Back to 'spake', I seem to feel 'thou speakest' and 'he spake' (or, where is it more or less written in the Bible that 'the Lord spake the word and great was the jubilation,,,' (Handel handled that passage right well). - but I defer to Wlasinghas'm's verger and professor of both new and old Enblish. I have got myself in hot water before for willy nilly bandying about early English forms that sounded quaint but were really not period syntax.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    Indeed, I meant ‘Word’ but I believe both are proper and fitting. And thanks all for the suggestions. I’ll tidy this up and repost between masses this morning.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 747
    Here's the revised version:

    In Thy True Presence here,
    we trust and do draw near;
    have mercy on us sinners, Lord,
    who weep in holy fear!

    Thou deign'st [alt. will'st] to condescend,
    not as judge, but as friend!
    We marvel at the myst'ry, Lord,
    and ponder without end!

    Thy mercies never cease!
    May Thy worship increase;
    and grant that we may join Thee, Lord,
    and risèth in the East!

    Thy Body—Flesh—not wheat;
    Thy Blood, Elixir sweet!
    For but one drop can spare us, Lord,
    before the judgement seat!

    Thy word we do believe;
    and to Thy Church we cleave.
    Thy grace She metes out freely, Lord,
    and eager we receive!

    ••••••

    Now, MJO, I agree with you about the line
    "May Thy worship increase" and emphasis being wrong.

    That particular line flummoxed me from the very beginning. I'm trying to come up with some alternates (can be a completely different idea) and I'm open to any suggestions.

    1. O drive away the beast,
    2. May gratitude increase,
    3. Our gratitude increase,
    4. Thou holdèth near [dear] the least;

    A few of these would require the subsequent line to change to: O grant that we may join Thee, Lord...

    I think my current preference would be:

    Thou holdèth dear the least;
    Thy mercies never cease!
    O grant that we may join Thee, Lord,
    and risèth in the East!

    Again, I'm open to suggestions.

    (And in case anyone is wondering why I constantly mark the è as such, it is because I've discovered that my cantors sometimes need these cues with old english because if they aren't reading ahead they will try and make up words. The è reminds them what sound they should make. May not be perfect, but it helps, even if it is redundant.)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,623
    It would have to be "holdest", not "holdeth" (2nd person singular ending), but even then the "least"/"cease" false rhyme seems weak to me.

    But, since there are other contractions/elisions, why not something like "Thy worship, may't increase:"? (eliding "may-it", with thanks to Yoda).

    Additionally, the "not as judge, but a friend!" has the wrong rhythm. Much better would be: "not as a judge, but friend!" or perhaps "not as our judge, but friend!"

    Also, for "In Thy True Presence here, / we trust and do draw near;" - the "and do draw near" sounds somewhat awkward - how about "and now draw near;"?

    Finally I'm troubled by "and grant that we may join Thee, Lord, / and risèth in the East!"
    for the simple reason that "we .... risèth" is (again) grammatically incorrect: "I rise; thou risèst, (s)he risèth, we/ye/they rise" (I think).
  • liampmcdonough
    Posts: 103
    How about:


    Thy mercies never cease!
    Thy worship e'er increase-
    Until our ceaseless chorus hymns
    Thy rising in the East!
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,917
    liampmcdonough's solution is best!