Hymn Text (Marian) for Epiphany
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    2020 EDIT

    I am attaching to THIS POST a copy of the final text, set to Jesu Dulcis Memoria

    If you scroll around, there is also an original setting by Francis Koerber, which is lovely.
    Also a second by CGM, which has now 404ed.
    And - I think - another composer in another thread as well, but I can't remember and don't have time to look.
    Epiphany is coming up, y'all!

    Here's the "final" text:

    image

    This text went through a serious revision here, in this forum, and many of you who are still regulars contributed to improving it. So this piece is dedicated to my friends and colleagues on the Musica Sacra Forum. Thank you for the many ways you have made me a better writer, better musician, and better Christian.


    ---- Here's the original post, with the original (not very good) text, but I struck out the parts that got changed later. Students of hymn writing might find the conversation and revision process enlightening.---


    O mighty city of our God
    Rise up! Your light has come at last.
    Your streets, the path our Lord shall trod,
    And peace, the light your sun shall cast.


    You are the temple, you the star,
    The tabernacle full of grace,
    A host for pilgrims near and far,
    On earth, the purest holy place.

    From you, O Queen, O seat, O bride,
    The greatest King be born to earth.
    To Him and you the wise shall ride,
    to gift and praise the Holy birth.

    Your offspring shall our shepherd be,
    and you our mother, evermore.
    You, our grace, our life; and he
    Our sure salvation, source, and store.

    We bring, then, gold and rich perfume,
    And all the gifts we have to bring,
    To praise the one who from your womb,
    Came forth to be our Lord and King.




    I didn't set out to write a Marian hymn, but when you start talking waxing poetic about Jerusalem as in the OT reading, it's pretty hard not notice the connection. Knowing the unofficial tradition of using Marian hymns as recessionals in "Propers" masses sealed the deal, and the recent brouhaha over another new Marian text made the job particularly fun.

    The first verse was written prior to my realization that I was writing a Marian hymn, so I think it's the tiniest bit awkward. The imagery taken directly from Isaiah fits quite well, I think. But somehow use of the word "trod," and the line that contains it, seems somewhat disrespectful if Jerusalem is Mary, and not simply the geographical location of the Passion.

    I wanted very much to pull Mary, the themes of the Epiphany, and a Trinitarian doxology all together for the last verse. Alas, I was unsuccessful- and the last verse is absent two thirds of the Godhead. Perhaps this is troubling, perhaps not. If anyone has suggestions, I'd be happy to consider them.

    As always, comments, critiques, suggestions, insults, compliments, cross-posting, proofreading, and a general mockery of this work in particular and my body of work in general are welcome.
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  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    There is something bothersome about all the changing of tenses. It seems strange, for example, to conceive of this present moment as a time before Jesus became our shepherd (stanza 3).

    You pointed out the obvious inconsistency between the first and the rest of the stanzas (if there is no refrain, is it technically a verse?), but it really needs to be fixed. There are two separate "yous" in the piece.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    The You is the same- Jerusalem=Mary.
    I agree the language used to communicate that is off a bit. Any suggestions?

    Future tense for shepherd...
    I don't find that troubling, but I'd like to hear if others feel as Doug does on that point.
    Use of the future tense was mimicing the Gospel text:
    from you shall come a ruler,
    who is to shepherd my people Israel.

    I'm usually okay with fluidity of tenses in religious texts, as I think God-time is fairly non-linear.
  • "The path our Lord shall trod" is incorrect. "Trod" is the past tense, so "has trod," or "shall tread."
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    ah, yes- I think that whole line needs to go. It's a rhyme-copout anyway.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 662
    If the hymn is sung from the time of the Magi's visit, then obviously Mary would have given birth but would still have a lot of future tense going on.

    I would change "O mighty city" to "O mighty Zion" (ie, the daughter of Zion and the city in one). But "city" works nicely, except for the deadly S sound.

    "Your streets" to "Your gate"

    "You are the temple, you the star" to "You are the temple and the star" or similar. You could also insert an adjective for "star" or another two-syllable image ("You are the temple, throne, and star", for example, though this would mess up "seat" later on.) I say this because repeated "you" is kinda harsh to sing.

    "O queen, o seat, o bride" could be something like "O queen, o rose, o bride" (meaning "rose of Sharon"). Or "o throne, o bride". But I like "o seat" also, except for the deadly S sound.

    "The greatest King be born to earth" is awkward. "is born to earth" might work better.

    "Your offspring" sounds awkward in that placement. You could actually get away with "Your scion" in that line, but "only son" or a different botanical term could work.

    "You our grace, our life, and he" scans differently than all the other lines in that position.

    Just some critique/meddling. Though I should know better by now. :)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    Maureen- SUPER USEFUL.

    I originally had "child" instead of offspring, as Americans tend to pronounce that in two syllables.

    I'm not sure what's harsh about repeated "You." I prefer repeating the subject rather than using the word "and." Could you explain your preference there more?

    "Your gate" works better for Marian-ness, but "trod" is still a problem. I think I need line 1 to not end with "God"

    I prefer "seat" as it reference the Ark of the Covenant (and the "Mercy Seat / Seat of Grace" thereon).

    Is the "and he" switch difficult to parse? Awkward?
  • Maureen
    Posts: 662
    Well, I don't know if this is true of all American choirs, but in my part of the Midwest, it can be difficult to keep a stressed "you" from getting very tight and frontal and even nasal. A "you" here and there is no problem, but that particular line has the you's so close together as to be a bit tricky.

    Of course, some of this depends upon the music. I don't know what tune you've got in mind. It might not be a factor at all.

    If it were an accusatory set of you's, it wouldn't matter if they were tight or not. :)

    DISCLAIMER: Not formally trained in much of anything. Often paranoid.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Adam, I am am devouring everything you write. Please branch out into different meters etc.! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Merry Christmas! The Lord is with your pen!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Yes Adam. You win the contest on writing new Marian text that has been floating around recently.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    Thank you so much- Merry Christmas.

    Gosh- and this one isn't even done yet.
    I'll polish it up today, just in case anyone was looking for a Marian hymn for the ridiculously early observation of the Epiphany next Sunday.
    Thanked by 1marymezzo
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    Final version (until it isn't).


    O gracious dwelling of our King
    Rise up and let the Magi in,
    Who come to honor, laud and sing
    The child who saves us from our sin.

    You are the temple, you the star,
    The tabernacle full of grace,
    A host for pilgrims near and far,
    On earth, the purest holy place.

    From you, O Queen, O seat, O bride,
    The greatest King is born to earth.
    To Him and you the wise shall ride,
    to gift and praise the Holy birth.

    Your offspring shall our shepherd be,
    and you our mother, evermore.
    You, our grace, our life; and he
    Our sure salvation, source, and store.

    We bring, then, gold and rich perfume,
    And all the gifts we have to bring,
    To praise the one who from your womb,
    Came forth to be our Lord and King.



    I couldn't get the Jerusalem=Mary thing to work very explicitly. I think it's still there, but internal sense-making required a softening touch and a focus on Our Lady instead of the Holy City. So I rewrote stanza 1 entirely.
    Other than that, I fixed the 3.2: "be born" to "is born"

    I left the tense issue with regards to shepherding in the future. I'm okay with it.
    Likewise most of the other critiques. I don't have time right now to go line by line about why I made the decisions I did, but I wouldn't mind doing so if people would find interesting.

    Also:
    This text, like most of my texts, is being released under CC: BY, SA, NS
    So if you mostly like it, but you want to change a word or two, or even rewrite it substantially- you are free to do so.
    As long as you credit the original author (me), don't try to make any money (like that's going to happen), and release your new piece under the same license.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Nice

    What about

    We offer gold and rich perfume

    Since you have the word "bring" two lines in a row
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Adam

    Upon reading your poem I was inspired to pen out a new hymn tune. It kind of just occured to me withhout much effort, and that is usually a good result. Would you like to hear it to see if it is music you might consider to marry to your text?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    And if you would be willing to so grace us, I would like to premiere this hymn at our Epiphany Mass next week. These words are simply beautiful and do justice to honor our Most Holy Queen to whom I am wholly devoted as her slave.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    YES to all!

    Offer is better than "bring, then"

    Would love to hear and see new tune

    PLEASE feel free to premiere this text at your mass. If you can manage a recording, I'd be doubly blessed.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Hi Adam:

    OK... I dumped it into Sib just now and then created a flash demo.

    Here it is, music inspired by your most beautiful text born and published all within a couple of hours. Blessed be God and the Most Holy Virgin!

    see and hear the score

    If you approve, I will put the words in and your name in the credit for lyricist and repost for everyone to use.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Adam:

    I am copyrighting the music portion in my own name under the usual ©, but I can give the text a CC: BY, SA, NS as you request if that is acceptable to you. Let me know before I post the file. I will publish it as a pdf.

    Most Gratefully Yours,

    Francis Koerber
    Composer
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    To the extant I have need and power to do so, I hereby officially grant you permission to copyright your composition however you see fit, to pair it with my text however you please, and to distribute it in any way you feel like it, across all mediums now in existence or yet to be developed, throughout the universe and all planes of existence now known or known in the future, unto ages of ages, so long as there is no attempt to generate income from any of those activities, or any other activities dependent on the use of my text.
    For commerical or non-commercial income-generating uses, please contact me privately.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    Nice tune and harmonization, BTW.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Adam... That is too funny. Lets put that exact text at the bottom of the piece! (jk)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Adam and I are publishing this hymn for your use during Epiphany from now until the end of time.

    In JMJ,

    Francis Koerber

    download score
  • Hats off to you both: splendid!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    thnx Paul. I asked Adam for ALL his writings. I have many hymn comps that could use words.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Do you still want that setting of the Mag?
  • Claire H
    Posts: 359
    Thank you for this beautiful hymn -- I am using it this Sunday!

    In Christ,
    Claire
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Let us know how things play out.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    Bump. Because you should be thinking about Epiphany.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    uh oh.... Wordpress has SUPRESSED the link. will fix asap.
    Thanked by 3Adam Wood EMH CCooze
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,025
    I'm no expert on writing lyrics, though I do enjoy writing poetry and copy editing.

    Every time I read the last verse/stanza, it feels as though it should say:
    "Comes forth to be our Lord and King."
    rather than "Came forth to be our Lord and King."

    To me "came" just sounds awkward because all of a sudden you're giving a definitive past tense, while the rest of the time you're in a semi-present tense. And "comes forth" works because we're almost always talking about the birth of Christ in the present at Christmas time.

    And also that the line
    "To Him and you the wise shall ride" should (because of 2 stanzas prior) instead read
    "To Him and you the wise do ride," which works for both the Magi and for anyone else past/present/future simply because they are wise.

    I do like it, though. Great job!
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    The tense of the last verse is in the actual present -- we offer now. So Jesus came forth in the past tense.

    (Also, on the trip to Egypt his caravan passed tents.)

    re: shall/do

    I think the grammatical argument here is okay, but "shall" sounds a lot better than "do," and I think is correct enough. The wise shall ever ride (run, fly) to Mary.
  • passed tents

    Haha! Nice. :-)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,566
    You cannot run through a campground. You can only ran through a campground. Why? ... because it's past tents.
  • Well, there's also past perfect tents, in which case you had run.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    ...and the night shall be filled with music,
    and the cares that infest the day,
    will fold their tense like the Arabs,
    and will have had been stealing away.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,203
    Hymn for Epiphany (new link)

    Download Score

    Hear a Simulation
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • CGM
    Posts: 505
    and taking the liberty of calling myself a "friend of Adam," I offer this additional contribution to the thread
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    I am grateful for both of these efforts.

    In addition to these, my brother mentioned that he heard JESU DULCIS MEMORIA when he read the text.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,391
    BUMP for Epiphany 2021, with some notes/edits in the original post (scroll all the way up).