Monday, August 15, 2016

Saint Mary the Virgin

The Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin on August 15 is also celebrated in some churches as the Assumption (or Dormition) of Mary.  Today's hymn is by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898), a "committed High Church Anglican," according to the new book by Carl P. Daw Jr., Glory to God: A Companion (2016).  The hymn has also certainly been sung by Roman Catholics, as it appeared in the St. Alban's Hymnal (1921) and probably some others.

Every generation, Mary, calls thee blessed,
Lady, first of women by the Church confessed.
Since Saint Gabriel's message fell upon thine ear,
Filling thee with gladness and with holy cheer.

Blessed then and always, Christ's dear Mother thou,
Mary, highly favored, God is with thee now.

Graced by God the Spirit, gone to take thy place,
Hail thou Queen of Heaven, hail thou, full of grace
Virgin, yet a mother, clothed in sunlight now,
Mary, Israel's Lily, earth's dear mother thou.

Mary, Star of ocean, light within the gloom,
Since the Holy Flower chose in thee to bloom;
Though so far above us, Mother, thou art ours,
In the world's hard conflict, in death's lonely hours.

Unto our Creator, joyful songs we sing,
Unto Christ our Brother, thankful hearts we bring,
To the Holy Spirit, bow we and adore,
As doth faithful Mary, now and evermore.

William Chatterton Dix, 19th cent.; alt.
Tune: HERMAS ( with refrain)
Frances Ridley Havergal, 1871

The tune HERMAS, by Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), is her most well-known composition, and probably the only tune of hers that people might recognize, though she wrote several more.

P.S. The painting above, The Assumption of Mary (1835), is by French painter Charles LeBrun, once called "the greatest French artist of all time" by King Louis XIV.

Eight Years Ago: Ye who claim the faith of Jesus

Seven Years Ago: Hail, holy Queen!

Six Years Ago: Sing, sing, ye angel bands

Five Years Ago: Virgin born, we bow before thee

Four Years Ago: Let today above all other

Three Years Ago:  Hail, Queen of heav'n, the ocean star

One Year Ago:  Behold her open grave, adorned

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