Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eliza Edmunds Hewitt

Today is the 150th birthday of lifelong Philadelphian Eliza Edmunds Hewitt, a prolific writer (and sometimes composer) of gospel songs. She graduated as valedictorian of the Philadelphia Girls' Normal School and began a career as a public school teacher. However, she was injured in the classroom by an unruly student who threw a heavy slate which struck her in the back, and this caused her to be bedridden for an extended period of time (and to suffer from back pain for the rest of her life).

It was apparently during this time that she began to write poetry which came to the attention of publisher
John R. Sweney (a gospel songwrtier himself), who invited her to try writing songs. She became one of his must successful writers, and he himself supplied tunes for several of her texts.

There's a clear fountain flowing
From the heavens above,
And its waters are glowing
With the sunshine of love;
Take the blest consolation,
Jesus came to bestow,
Take the cup of salvation,
Let the joy overflow.

O the joy! With this wondrous salvation
Be our hearts all aglow;
O the joy! Let the blessing run over,
And joy overflow.

Many hearts need the story,
Are athirst for that grace;
Go to them with Christ's glory
Shining out from your face;
Tell of Jesus your Savior!
And his mercies you know,
Show the light of his favor
Let the joy overflow.

Be our lives freely yielded
To the Savior's command;
By his care ever shielded
And upheld by his hand;
In the pathways of sadness,
Sweetest lilies may grow;
Let us sow seeds of gladness,
Let the joy overflow.

Eliza E. Hewitt, 1917; alt.
OVERFLOWING ( with refrain)
Charles H. Gabriel, 1917

Three Years Ago:
More Voices Found: Eliza Hewitt

Two Years Ago:
Frederick William Faber

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