Sunday, October 7, 2012

Henry Alford

The Reverend Henry Alford, author, theologian, and hymnist was born today in 1810.  As recounted here before, he took a very early interest in hymns, writing his earliest texts while still a schoolboy, and compiling them into a collection at age eleven.

While serving as curate under his father, the rector of the Anglican congregation at , he began to educate the children in the parish, another interest he would cultivate throughout his life.

We have already seen a number of his more familair texts here, so today's is more obscure, and quite short.

O God, at whose divine command,
Good seed is sown in every land,
Your heavenly grace to us impart,

And for your Word prepare each heart.

So may it, while your sowers toil,
Fall in a good and honest soil;
And springing up from firmest root,
With patience bear abundant fruit.

Henry Alford, 1844; alt.
Geistliche Lieder, 1539

As we know, some churches use different kinds of hymns at different places in worship.  A hymn sung before the Gospel reading for the day is called in some traditions a sequence hymn, and sometimes specifically refers to the Word of God.  These hymns are also often shorter than the sort of hymns sung as opening or closing hymns, so a text of only two stanzas is not so unusual in this case.

Four Years Ago: Henry Alford

Three Years Ago: Henry Alford

Two Years Ago: Charles Crozat Converse

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