Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To Wake, to Worship, and Rejoice (Day Six)

If you know the women poets of the nineteenth century, you may have read this text before, but the Cyber Hymnal claims it as a hymn, so it may have been sung somewhere (I've chosen a better tune for it, I think).

Anne Brontë was the youngest of a famous trio of literary sisters, though she was perhaps the least well known. Surely more people have read Charlotte's Jane Eyre or Emily's Wuthering Heights than have read Anne's Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall combined. The three of them published (at their own expense) a collection of verse in 1846, Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, each sister taking a male pseudonym with her own first initial. The book was not a success, and thus the Brontës turned to writing novels with better results.

This text by Anne is from that book. There are a few others by her listed here that might also have appeared in hymnals over the years (and none listed for Charlotte or Emily).

Music I love—­but ne’er a strain
Could kindle raptures so divine,
So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
And rouse this pensive heart of mine;
As that we hear on Christmas morn,
Upon the wintry breezes borne.

Though night will still its empire keep,
And hours must pass, ere morning break;
From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
That music kindly bids us wake:
It calls us, with an angel’s voice,
To wake, and worship, and rejoice.

To greet with joy the glorious morn,
Which angels welcomed long ago,
When our redeeming Lord was born,
To bring the light of heav'n below;
The powers of evil to dispel,
And rescue earth from death and hell.

While listening to that sacred strain,
My raptured spirit soars on high;
I seem to hear those songs again
Resounding through the open sky,
That kindled such divine delight,
In those who watched their flocks by night.

With them, I celebrate his birth;
Glory to God, in highest heav'n,
Good will to all, and peace on earth,
Today, to us a Savior giv'n;
Our God is come to claim God's own,
And evil’s power is overthrown!

Anne Bronte, 1846; alt.
Composer unknown, 19th cent.

One Year Ago: William Croft

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