Claudia Frances Hernaman was born in the village of Addlestone, Surrey on this day in 1838, the daughter of W. H. Ibotson, a Church of England minister. Like many clerical daughters, she grew up to marry another minister, the Reverend J. W. D. Hernaman, in 1858. Not much else seems to be known of her life except the more than 150 hymns she wrote or translated from Latin, mostly for children. These were published in several books written by her.
We have already seen her most familiar hymn, first published in her collection The Child's Book of Praise (1873), which still appears today in many modern hymnals. Today's hymn, appropriate for this season of Hernaman's birthday, is matched with a sprightly tune that children would probably like to sing.
Come, children, lift your voices,
And sing with us today,
As to the Lord of harvest
Our grateful vows we pray,
We thank thee, God, for sending
The gentle showers of rain,
The summer suns which ripened
The fields of golden grain.
Come join our glad procession
As onward still we move,
Rejoicing in the tokens
Of our Creator's love;
All good is God's creation,
All beautiful and fair,
Birds, insects, beasts and fishes
Our harvest gladness share.
May we by holy living
Thy praises echo forth,
And tell thy boundless mercy
To all the list'ning earth;
May we grow up as branches
Of Christ, the one true Vine,
Bear fruit to life eternal,
And be forever thine.
Claudia Frances Hernaman, 1878; alt.
Tune: BRITISH GRENADIERS (126.96.36.199.D.)
Traditional English melody, 17th cent.
The well-known and traditional tune BRITISH GRENADIERS was used since the eighteenth century as a march for several different divisions of the British and Canadian military, though it has since been heard in many different contexts. I actually remember it from a long-ago television commercial for Chef Boy-ar-dee's Beefaroni.
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