Sunday, September 01, 2019

The Leaf

The Sacred Harp, 2012 Cooper Edition has the tune North Jersey on the bottom of page 504. In this songbook, the source of the lyrics is credited as “The Christian’s Magazine, 1760.” That publication included this hymn on page 86 as “The Fall of the Leaf; a Sacred Ode.” The author has since been identified, George Horne, a bishop of the Church of England in Norwich. The transcription below comes from The Works of the Right Reverend George Horne D.D., Late Lord Bishop of Norwich; to which are Prefixed Memoirs of His Life, Studies, and Writings, Volume 1 (William Jones, London: F. C. & J. Rivington, 1818, pp. 234-35). There, it is entitled “The Leaf,” with the scripture reference “We All Do Fade As a Leaf. Isaiah lxiv. 6.” North Jersey is arranged as an 8s.7s.D. tune (two 8-line stanzas), while the presentation in The Works of the Right Reverend George Horne is 8s.7s. (ten 4-line stanzas).

1. See the leaves around us falling,
Dry and wither’d, to the ground;
Thus to thoughtless mortals calling
In a sad and solemn sound:

2. Sons of Adam, once in Eden,
Blighted when like us he fell,
Hear the lecture we are reading;
’Tis, alas! the truth we tell:

3. Virgins, much, too much presuming
On your boasted white and red,
View us, late in beauty blooming,
Number’d now among the dead.

4. Griping misers, nightly waking,
See the end of all your care;
Fled on wings of our own making,
We have left our owners bare.

5. Sons of honour, fed on praises,
Flutt’ring high in fancied worth,
Lo! the fickle air, that raises,
Brings us down to parent earth.

6. Learned sophs, in systems jaded,
Who for new ones daily call,
Cease, at length, by us persuaded,
Ev’ry leaf must have its fall!

7. Youths, though yet no losses grieve you,
Gay in health and manly grace,
Let not cloudless skies deceive you,
Summer gives to autumn place.

8. Venerable sires, grown hoary,
Hither turn th’ unwilling eye,
Think, amidst your falling glory,
Autumn tells a winter nigh.

9. Yearly in our course returning,
Messengers of shortest stay,
Thus we preach this truth concerning,
“Heav’n and earth shall pass away.”

10. On the Tree of Life eternal,
Man, let all thy hope be staid,
Which alone, for ever vernal,
Bears a leaf that shall not fade.

No comments: