Hymn Of Hope

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Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

When Green Hill led to Highcliff Nab
Up from Kemplah Fields, 
Then when all my world was young
And all was meant to be, 
Life was enriched by Nature’s call;
The world was one to me.

Now, when old age has taken youth
And life resolves in retrospection, 
Those childhood days become intense, 
The fount of my reflection. 

I feel, I touch, the close-knit turf
That dressed the hills I trod. 
The waves of bracken still haunt my mind
As if bespoke of God, 
And heather, clothing moor and dale,
Purpling the timeless scene, 
Rekindles every hope I have 
Been granted in the life I’ve seen.

 

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Caedmon’s Hymn

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Caedmon remained, throughout his life, unable to record his own verse in writing.  This many others did for him and these were collected and published for others to read, sing and recite. However, it is not possible to be certain of how authentic many of these are, chiefly because Caedmon’s original poems may well have suffered in their many translations, some being from the Latin, which were themselves translations of Caedmon’s Old English.

In fact only one short nine-line verse remains which, because it is given to us by Bede, we can be certain was Caedmon’s creation.  This is the hymn which he first wrote, and which came to him in his inspirational dream.  I give this below, both in its original Old English and in its translation into modern English . . .

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Caedmon’s Hymn in Old English and its modern translation (excerpt from The Earliest English Poems, Third Edition, Penguin Books, 1991):

Nu sculon herigean heofonrices Weard,
Meotodes meahte ond his modgeþanc,
weorc Wuldorfæder; swa he wundra gehwæs
ece Drihten, or onstealde.
He ærest sceop eorðan bearnum
heofon to hrofe, halig Scyppend:
þa middangeard moncynnes Weard,
ece Drihten, æfter teode
firum foldan, Frea ælmihtig.

Praise now to the keeper of the kingdom of heaven,

the power of the Creator, the profound mind

of the glorious Father, who fashioned the beginning

of every wonder, the eternal Lord.

For the children of men he made first

heaven as a roof, the holy Creator.

Then the Lord of mankind, the everlasting Shepherd,

ordained in the midst as a dwelling place,

Almighty Lord, the earth for men.

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Caedmon’s Hymn is the oldest recorded poem in Old English, and illustrates, though so not clearly in translation, an example of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse.  Seventeen manuscripts still exist with copies of this hymn, with minor variations, some in a variety of different Old English dialects, others in Caedmon’s own Northumbrian dialect.   These verses in fact established the methodology for most poets who followed him and powerfully exemplify the whole art of Anglo-Saxon poetry.bar152

This final passage I quote from:  http://www.encyclopedia.com/

‘All of his poetry was on sacred themes, and its unvarying aim was to turn men from sin to righteousness. In spite of all the poetic renderings that Caedmon supposedly made, however, it is only the original dream hymn of nine historically precious, but poetically uninspired, lines that can be attributed to him with confidence.’

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The WESTMINSTER CHORUS

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THE WESTMINSTER CHORUS  is an all male A Capella, Barbershop, Choral singing group based in Southern California.   I would like to recommend them to all my blog followers.

Many of their recordings are available on YouTube,  but I have chosen one in particular as being a particular favourite of mine.  In order to get the finest quality of acoustics the group recorded a number of sound videos in a church in Germany.   The sound quality on this particular YouTube recording could be improved, but nevertheless I hope you will find their singing of this beautiful song highly  impressive and will recognise that it reaches perhaps the highest possible level of a capella choral singing.

Westminster Chorus, singing a David Phelps arrangement of the George Matheson Hymn, “Oh Love, That Will Not Let Me Go” in the Petrikirche, a Protestant church (start of construction 1322) in Dortmund, Germany.  The church is famous for the huge carved altar (known as “Golden Miracle of Dortmund”), from 1521, which consists of 633 gilt carved oak figures depicting 30 scenes about Easter.

Click on the link below to watch and listen . . . 

‘OH Love, That Will Not Let Me Go’

Adjust the volume as you wish and expand to full screen.
The group recorded more songs in this particular setting, and there are many more recorded in a variety of settings.   The group’s personnel have changed over the years but their standards remain exceptionally high.   It is well worth exploring their other recordings, many of them on YouTube.

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