Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Feast of the Presentation

In the temple now behold him,
See the long-expected Lord;
Ancient prophets had foretold him,
Now fulfilled God's promised word.

Simeon and Anna hail him
Ere in faith and hope they die.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Lo, th’incarnate God most high.

Jesus, by thy presentation,
Thou, who didst for us endure,
Help us know thy great salvation,
Seal us with thy promise sure.

Henry J. Pye, 1851; alt.
William Boyce, 1765

For more on this feast day (also known as Candlemas) which is not particularly well-known, but which has a number of nice hymns, see the links below.  The fifteenth-century painting above is The Presentation of Christ in the Temple by Fra Angelico.

Five Years Ago: O Zion, open wide thy gates

Four Years Ago: Hail to the Lord who comes

Three Years Ago:  O Jerusalem belovèd

Two Years Ago: In peace and joy I now depart


jrpv said...

The very hymn in my fb note for this Sunday!
I covered five hymn tunes which have been used with this hymn, but NONE of them were the one you chose - I'd never heard of it! (My brother is an Episcopalian, I'm a Methodist with some Presbyterian experience).

Prince and Author of salvation,
Be Thy boundless love our theme!
Jesus, praise to Thee be given
By the world Thou didst redeem.
With the Father and the Spirit,
Lord of majesty supreme!

This fourth stanza was added by Anglican Canon Will­iam Cooke (1821-1894)in 1853. He was evidently the same fellow who added the article for Henry John Pye to Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology.

There was not much available about Pye, but plenty for his wife's family — her grandfather was the anti-slavery crusader William Wilberforce and her father (Samuel, who debated evolution with Huxley) and her brother were Anglican bishops. Her father was aghast when his daughter and Rev, Pye became Roman Catholics in 1868.

jrpv said...

Ohhhhhh! Now, I see. My online sources for the hymn shows six-line stanzas (including the one added by Canon Coke). Yours has four-line stanzas, and thus a four-line hymn meter. I searched hard copies of a few Methodist, Episcopalian (and a couple of Anglican), &c. hymnals (and, as expected, not in Baptist or Presbyterian), but I found it ONLY in four Lutheran Hymnals, with four different six-line tunes (I had covered two or three of those), and only the second oldest had all four stanzas (actually, the hymn has been restored in the 1982 Episcopalian hymnal, but I only have the 1940). Incidentally, in the 24 total lines available to me, Simeon and Anna are only referred to as "agèd saints." Thank you - your post spurred me to learn what I should have looked at last week when I was writing.