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Poetry

Some people have been doing poetry recently. I'm not much of a poetry person, but here's a hymn that I like even without a tune. I don't know if Wesley ever gave it a real name -- I just call it "Idumea" after the tune usually used with it. It's the hymn that underscores the battle scene in "Cold Mountain," among other things.

And am I born to die?
To lay this body down!
And must my trembling spirit fly
Into a world unknown?

A land of deepest shade,
Unpierced by human thought;
The dreary regions of the dead,
Where all things are forgot!

Soon as from earth I go,
What will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe
Must then my portion be!

Waked by the trumpet sound,
I from my grave shall rise;
And see the Judge with glory crowned,
And see the flaming skies!
-- Charles Wesley, 1763

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
saadiira
Sep. 21st, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC)
That's rather sad. I've not yet seen cold mountain.

I did, however, grow up with music contemporary to the time of the writing of that poem, more or less. (LONG story.)

Are you familiar with 'The Ballad of Donald Monroe?" (I"m damn sure you know Barbara Allen.

(Just curious, and the date made me make the association)

-Dira-
frenchpony
Sep. 21st, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
I don't think I know Donald Monroe, but I know that quite a few ballad characters have gone by multiple names in the past. Can you give me a brief plot synopsis? Maybe I do know it by a different name.

Not only do I know Barbara Allen, I wrote a term paper on it. A feminist re-reading of the implications of the full text.
saadiira
Sep. 23rd, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
I will try to get all the lyrics right. I've not HEARD it in years, but I listened to it constantly as a kid.

Ye sons of great Britain, you that used to range,
in search of foreign countries, your fortunes to change,
Amongst your great numbers, was Donald Monroe.

Away, to America, he likewise did go.

Two sons with his brothers he left them to stay.
Because of their passage, he could not then pay.
When seven long winters were over and gone,
They went to their uncle, and begged to move on.

And when they had sailed o'er the fierce ocean wide
They were fired on by rebels, upon every side.
Their being true rebels that lurked in the wood,
They fired their pistols where the two brothers stood.

You cruelest monster, the dying boy said.
You've killed my older brother, and soon I shall be dead.
Oh cursed be the day, we undertook to go,
And find our dear father, named Donald Monroe.

Oh woe to my hands, what is this I have done?
Oh cursed be the fates, I've murdered my sons!

Is it you, my dear father, then stand you close by?
For now that I've seen you, contented, I'll die.

Then Donald Monroe, weeping, sank to one knee.
Oh Merciful heavens, take pity on me!
Perhaps we will meet on a far greater shore,
Where brothers will murder their brothers no more.

*************

(Ok, if not identical, pretty close!)

I'd love to see that paper. Heh. Good one.

-Dira-
frenchpony
Sep. 23rd, 2005 03:29 am (UTC)
That's one I didn't know. I shall have to ferret out the tune and learn it. It will go nicely with "The Sheffield Apprentice" and "Bold Wolfe."
saadiira
Sep. 23rd, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC)
Very cool. Wish you had a mic and iron ears...lol. I'd sing it for you. (my copy of it is on VYNYL...)

-Dira-
bodkin_ra
Sep. 21st, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC)
If we're thinking hymn-ish, I like Bunyan's To Be A Pilgrim. The original version preferred! Especially, 'Hobgoblin nor foul fiend . . .'

Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He’ll with a giant fight,
He will have a right
To be a pilgrim.

Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit,
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He’ll fear not what men say,
He’ll labor night and day
To be a pilgrim.
frenchpony
Sep. 22nd, 2005 02:07 am (UTC)
This the same Bunyan who wrote Pilgrim's Progress?

"Hobgoblin nor foul fiend" is a great line. I shall have to keep it away until I have a use for it.
bodkin_ra
Sep. 22nd, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
Yes. I believe the original version of the hymn is actually taken from Pilgrim's Progress. (Discovered when looking for the words.)
frenchpony
Sep. 22nd, 2005 11:46 am (UTC)
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/w/hwhowvbe.htm

That has a MIDI file of a tune used for a more regular metrical setting of the poetry. But I have to say, the original version grabbed me, particular meter and all. I fitted a little tune to the words, and all it needs is a bit of polishing and then harmonization. I guess you could call it the musical version of a plotbunny. I shall have to grab a practice room after work today and write the tune down. In B flat, I think.
bodkin_ra
Sep. 22nd, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
When I was little we used to sing this at school assembly. (All UK schools used to have Christian assembly.) The hymn books we used had both versions of the words written in them - but I used to sing the hobgoblin version - to the usual tune. It was just so much more imaginative than the modern one!
saadiira
Sep. 23rd, 2005 01:25 am (UTC)
OOH! Cool stuff. :).

-Dira-
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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