Sunday, 25 September 2011

A Harvest Hymn: 'To Garners Bright Elected'

Today felt very autumnal, and so here's a harvest hymn. It's usually sung to one of Arthur Sullivan's insane-though-wonderful hymn tunes, in this case 'Golden Sheaves'. The words are by William Chatterton Dix; verse 3 is my favourite.

1. To thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise
in hymns of adoration,
to thee bring sacrifice of praise
with shouts of exultation.
Bright robes of gold the fields adorn,
the hills with joy are ringing,
the valleys stand so thick with corn
that even they are singing.

2. And now, on this our festal day,
thy bounteous hand confessing,
Upon thine altar, Lord, we lay
the first fruits of thy blessing.
By thee the souls of men are fed
with gifts of grace supernal;
thou, who dost give us earthly bread,
give us the bread eternal.

3. We bear the burden of the day,
and often toil seems dreary;
but labour ends with sunset ray,
and rest comes for the weary.
May we, the angel reaping over,
stand at the last accepted,
Christ's golden sheaves, forevermore
to garners bright elected.

4. O blessèd is that land of God
where saints abide forever,
where golden fields spread fair and broad,
where flows the crystal river;
the strains of all its holy throng
with ours today are blending;
thrice blessèd is that harvest song
which never hath an ending.

A picture from the nicest harvest service I ever went to, which took a very literalist approach to decoration.

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