"The Dazzling Day Is Now Far Spent," a hymn on the Agony in the Garden
  • Grace and peace, everyone. Here is a new piece---text, tune, and harmonization mine---on the Agony of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden. I have named the tune CARDINAL SARAH. Meter is 8.8.8.6. Feedback welcome.

    1. The dazzling day is now far spent;
    The stars have made their fair ascent;
    O children of the Lord, repent
    And watch with Him tonight!

    2. The garden sinks in shadow deep,
    In bonds of stupor sinners sleep,
    O dearest Jesus, help me keep
    The watch with You tonight.

    3. What faithlessness Your love has known,
    And now You face the Cross alone;
    May we who call ourselves Your own
    Keep watch with You tonight.

    4. Our hearts have strayed to earthly gain,
    To lures without and lies within;
    How You reveal Your anguish when
    We watch with You tonight!

    5. We cannot go where You are bound,
    And so we pray we may be found
    Awake on this, God's holy ground
    At watch with You tonight.

    6. The dazzling day is now far spent,
    The stars have made their fair ascent,
    O who among us shall repent
    And watch with You tonight?
  • GerardH
    Posts: 402
    This is great. It's a shame that the missal makes no allowance for music following the procession to the altar of repose on Maundy Thursday.

    A little feedback (since you requested it):
    • The interval in the melody/soprano first bar from F to B-flat seems unintuitive. It makes sense once you understand where the phrase is headed, but it's tricky to pitch. Could the B-flat be changed to an F to a G?
    • In the same bar, the three A-flats repeated in the bass are also a bit unexpected. I'd suggest having the basses sing the "-zling" syllable as a crotchet (quarter note for Americans) like what you have in bar 6.
    • Bar 5 into 6 for the basses is also a bit unintuitive. It feels like a the A-flat is a passing note to a G, but instead the A-flat is repeated. I haven't thought of a solution yet.

    I love the rhymes in verse 4. I keep expecting one of the lines in verse 6 to end with "lament" - not a suggestion, just musing.
    Thanked by 1Anna_Bendiksen
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,673
    The Tuesday or Friday after Septuagesima was the feast of the Agony in the Garden. The Hymns for this feast in translation can be found here,
    https://archive.org/details/EarlyChristianHymns/page/n249/mode/2up
  • GerardH
    Posts: 402
    Corrected my first feedback point in comment above
  • GerardH, thank you so much. All very helpful. I didn't know that the missal makes no such provision. I have a vague memory of singing "Go to dark Gethsemane" towards the end of Maundy Thursday Mass in a parish where the liturgy is taken very seriously indeed; perhaps that was at play somewhere in the back of my mind. In any case, I've tried to incorporate your feedback in the draft below. This is one of the first things that I've composed in a minor key and I am still getting my sea legs!

    tomjaw---fascinating.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw