Saturday, October 8, 2022

371. Proper 23 (Series A)

The lessons for this Sunday between Oct. 9 and 15 are Isaiah 25:6-9, Philippians 4:4-13 (ending a brief continuous reading of that Epistle) and Matthew 22:1-14 (the parable of the wedding feast, for which I wrote this hymn AND this hymn, besides an original tune for Franzmann's "O kingly Love"). So, excuse me if I (mostly) skirt around the Gospel lesson this time. The tune is DULCE CARMEN, from An Essay on the Church Plain Chant (London, 1782), a.k.a. ALLELUIA, DULCE CARMEN, a.k.a. BITHYNIA, a.k.a. TANTUM ERGO, also various attributed to Samuel Webbe (†1816), J. Michael Haydn (†1806) and (with modifications) John H. Spielman (1881). It's a tune one may find in mostly early-to-mid-20th-century hymnals, mostly of Scandinavian Lutheran extraction, sometimes with different titles and attributions within the same book, and occasionally with a repeat sign after the first two phrases. I've counted at least 10 hymn texts it has been paired with, mostly in only one book each and occasionally in up to two; possibly its original, intended pairing was with "Alleluia, song of sweetness." Nevertheless, I think there's a wide wedge of the anglophone Lutheran pie to which this tune might be a welcome novelty.

Zion, sing! Let echoes carry
O'er the plains, to distant hills!
Christ makes haste, His bride to marry;
How His festal summons thrills!
Soon faith's household shall make merry
When the fatted calf He kills.

On rich haunches, full of marrow,
Shall the ransomed remnant dine;
For their tears of salty sorrow
They shall have full-bodied wine,
And shall from the Bridegroom borrow
Garments that with glory shine.

Then the veil that is cast over
All the nations, dimming sight,
He will swallow up forever,
Putting death at last to flight;
He will dry all tears, and cover
Our rebuke with endless light.

In that Day it will be spoken:
"See, He is our God and Lord!
Long we waited, poor and broken;
Now by Him are we restored.
Our salvation has awoken;
Zion, sing with one accord!"

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