15 April 2008

English Catholic Hymn Book

Having found a lovely little pile of small green hymn books, apparently dating from the 1930s, in a cupboard at S Thomas's, I'm busily working out how to incorporate its contents into the Sunday hymn pattern. Perhaps May is the time to start. 936 begins 'The happy birds Te Deum sing,/'tis Mary's month of May./Her smile turns winter into spring,/ And darkness into day.' (Does anyone know who wrote it?) It will go nicely to the tune of 'O little town of Bethlehem'.Then there's 928, 'O Mother! will it always be,/That every passing year,/ Shall make thee seem more beautiful,/ Shall make thee seem more dear'. That, of course - no prizes - just has to be by the greatest of the Romantic poets, Fr Faber. It will go to the tune of 'It came upon the midnight clear'.

A lot of the hymns can be identified from the Westminster Hymnal (does any church still use that?), but I'd be glad for the key, if anyone can provide it, to the authors of the rest. The only unhappy gap in it seems to be its lack of Cardinal Wiseman's 'Full in the panting heart of Rome'. Perhaps the advocates of a non-papal Catholicism could do an Anglicanised version celebrating their own infallible magisterial Organ: 'Full in the panting Synod halls /Within Church House's peeling walls/From pilgrims lips that kiss the ground/Breathes in all tongues one only sound/ God bless our Synod, great and good.' or something like that.


Father David Swyer said...

I have sung "The happy birds Te Deum sing..." to the tune of The Lincolnshire Poacher. That was fun. I'd love to get my hands on a copy of the English Catholic Hymn Book. Another classic from that book is "I'll sing hymn to Mary..."

Little Black Sambo said...

The world expert on all this was the late Very Revd Peter Eugene Blagdon-Gamlen KMJ, KMLJ, CF, Dean of Lochore. If you could find his papers they would tell you more than you want to know. Did he have a literary executor? (He himself was l.e. for Fr Sandys Wason, so presumably all of their papers are together.)

Anselm Lewis said...

I enjoy both good classic hymns and some of the new revival chant expressed by the Latins.

Vincent de Paul said...

Anyone wanting to sing "The happy birds 'Te Deum' sing" to 'The Lincolnshire Poacher' can do so on Sat. May 3rd very appropriately in Lincoln Cathedral! 12 noon at F-in-F Festival Mass with +Richborough. F-in-F/SSC priests welcome to concelebrate. See advert in New Directions. Do come Fr Hunwick.

We still use our old copies of the English Caholic Hymn Book at Lent Services in our Church.

Malcolm Kemp said...

I am trying to get hold of a 6/8 D major tne to the hymn "Mother of Christ, mothr of Christ, what shall I ask of Thee". I had this many years ago in a small red booklet of AC hymnbs published, I think by one of the Catholic Societies. I'm also trying to get hold of a copy of A H Baverstock's bok of Mary hymns. Photocopies would be very acceptable/

Also, I'm writing a history of All
Souls Brighton which was closed in 1968 and should be grateful for any reminiscences.

Malcolm Kemp

Heath said...

"The Happy Birds Te Deum Sing" is by Alfred Gurney--it can be found on page 37 of his "Verses" under the title "A May Song" at the link below.

Gurney was the vicar of St Barnabas, Pumlico, which I have never noticed, despite many lunches after SMBS at La Poule au Pot, which is quite nearby.