Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

'Tis midnight, and on Olive's brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
'Tis midnight, in the garden now,
The suffering Savior prays alone.

'Tis midnight, and from all removed,
The Savior wrestles lone with fears;
E'en that disciple Jesus loved
Heeds not the savior's grief and tears.

'Tis midnight, and for others' guilt
The dear Redeemer weeps for love;
Yet all that have in anguish knelt
Are not forsaken by our God.

'Tis midnight, and from heav'nly plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior's woe.

William B. Tappan, 1822; alt.
William B. Bradbury, 1853

I miss this hymn very much but the Episcopalians don't use it. Though it's a thoroughly American hymn, both text and tune, I do wonder whether Bradbury wrote the tune with Anglican chant in mind. Each line has repeated notes at the beginning (slight variation on the fourth), then three moving chords at the end. Not quite chant set to meter, but suggestive perhaps?

Thanks to the William Bs (Tappan and Bradbury) for a memorable hymn.

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