Thursday, April 30, 2015

Williamson Williams Parks

Parks, Williamson Williams (see Makers of the Sacred Harp, Steel p. 145) was born in South Carolina in 1823 to James Parkes and Elizabeth Shepherd. “Williamson Williams” seems to be the more likely given name of W. W. Parks. The James & Elizabeth Parkes family Bible lists him as “Williamson W. Parkes” and family genealogists usually give the middle name as Williams (plural) rather than William. (That the next brother after him was named William supports this also.) Parks married Martha Camp on December 18, 1851 in Walton County, Georgia, They had 8 children. Parks was appointed postmaster of Auburn, Gwinnett County, Ga. in 1860. He was active in the Methodist Church. “The first Sunday school at this church [Harmony Grove Methodist Episcopal (South), Gwinnett County] was organized in 1866 by Williamson W. Parks, deceased. This was among the first, if not the first, Sunday school organized in Gwinnett county. W. W. Parks was superintendent from 1866 to 1882, and served as secretary and steward in the church at the same time.” In 1860 he bought land in the Ben Smith District of Gwinnett County – which is now part of Barrow County. He served in the Civil War, Lawrenceville Co. C 8th Reg GA State Guard Infantry as a Captain. After the War Parks bought land on Rocky Creek built a grist mill. Around 1885 he moved from Auburn to Flowery Branch and was a storekeeper there until his death. The Atlanta (Georgia) Constitution reports on the North Georgia Musical Convention in 1883 and 1884, listing Captain W. W. Parks as the vice-president. This convention met over the course of three days in the area of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and used various books, including the Temple Star and the New Sacred Harp. Parks’ song The Birman Hymn was added to The Sacred Harp in 1850. It uses a hymn that was originally written in the Burmese language by Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson. W. W. Parks died in 1897. He and his wife Martha are buried at the Flowery Branch Cemetery in Hall County, Georgia.

439      Adoration

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Navy Chaplain censored, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

  • Charles Dutton Mallary -- "He loved to preach Christ crucified as the only foundation of a sinner’s hope, and to exhibit a sovereign God, working all things after the counsel of his own will. These high themes he discussed with a clear head and a warm heart..."
  • Charlie Davis Tillman -- "The youngest son of Baptist preacher James Lafayette Tillman and Mary (Davis) tune is 'Life's Railway to Heaven'."
  • Dialogue on the Traditional Statement -- "I was asked to speak on the “Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” that was issued three years ago by some Southern Baptists who are alarmed over the spread of the doctrines of grace throughout the SBC."
  • Harmony Grove Methodist Episcopal (South) -- "The first Sunday school at this church was organized in 1866 by Williamson W. Parks, deceased."
  • Hillary: 'Religious Beliefs' Must Change For Sake Of Abortion -- "...Hillary admits here — albeit unwittingly — the at-will destruction of the unborn goes against religious beliefs, long-held cultural values, and the structural “biases” that exist to recognize the value of human life."
  • Navy Chaplain Censored: ‘Don’t pray in the name of Jesus’ -- "Just a few months earlier, Modder’s commander had called him the 'best of the best' and a consummate professional leader.” But now he’s on the verge of being kicked out of the military."
  • OBU Association of Sacred Harp Singers -- "The sing was attended by NAfME members, music faculty and their families, and members of the OKC/Shawnee community."
  • The Gateway to Oklahoma History -- "The Gateway is an online repository of Oklahoma history. You may browse through hundreds of thousands of newspaper pages dating from the 1840s to the 1920s."
  • What is the “Unpardonable Sin?” -- "A young man came to my office and expressed his concern that he had committed the 'unpardonable sin' and there was nothing he could do to be saved from eternal condemnation and judgment."
  • 10 fascinating facts about President Ulysses Grant -- "Grant tried to annex the Dominican Republic to the U.S."
  • 5 Facts About Thomas Jefferson's Faith -- "Although Jefferson was reluctant to talk about his personal beliefs in public, his private letters reveal that he was a deeply spiritual man who spent a considerable amount of time thinking about God.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Birman Hymn

THE BIRMAN HYMN – a nice 6/4 tune in E minor – was written by Williamson Williams Parks. It was added to The Sacred Harp in 1850. He also wrote Adoration and collaborated with M. H. Thomas to write A Home in Heaven. When he is mentioned in the 1880s as the vice-president of the North Georgia Music Convention, he is called Captain W. W. Parks. A W. W. Parks, probably the same person, organized the first Sunday school in Gwinnett County in 1866 at the Harmony Grove Methodist Episcopal Church. He was superintendent of the school from 1866 to 1882. He was in the organization of the Methodist Church at Auburn in 1892. W. W. Parks and his wife are buried at the Flowery Branch Cemetery in Hall County, Georgia.

The words are unattributed. To me the hymn seem like a hymn from an earlier era and unlikely to be written by Parks. Nevertheless, I have yet to find it elsewhere, other than the first stanza used by W. A. Cumbie as a second stanza to his song Come and Go with Me to Heaven in 1902.

The Birman Hymn
1. O, seek ye heaven–a golden land,
 Where happy souls rejoicing stand,
And ever view the Saviour’s face,
And speak and sing of matchless grace.

2. Exempt from sin and sorrow’s rage,
From sickness, death, and wasting age;
All suff’ring banish’d from the place,
They speak, and sing of matchless grace!

3. Love fills entire each burning breast,
Of everlasting bliss possess’d;
They quaff with joy th’ immortal spring,
Of grace divine they speak and sing.

4. God’s presence is their dwelling-place!
The glorious and effulgent rays
From Jesus’ face around them shine,–
They speak, and sing of grace divine!

[UPDATE: Wade Kotter found “The Birman (Burman) Hymn” in Simple Rhymes and Familiar Conversations for Children by Charles D. Mallary (Penfield, GA: Benj. Brantly, 1844). Thanks, Wade!!]

[UPDATE 2: I believe the W. W. Parks in the organization of the Auburn Methodist Church in 1892 is the son rather than the father. It appears that the father had already moved to Flowery Branch before that time.]

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Politicalish quotes

"Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority." -- James Madison

"Democracy and majority rule confer an aura of legitimacy and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical." -- Walter E. Williams

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." -- John Adams

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Christian nation?

I wrote the following letter to the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel newspaper. Letters to the editor can only be 350 words, so I had to edit it severely. I am posting the original letter here. It may lack context itself, without access to the letter it addresses. There are a number of people who argue about whether the United States is or ever was a Christian, and pick select quotes that will prove their point. 

In a letter to the editor on the April 22nd "Opinion Page" of the Daily Sentinel (p. 4a), Robert Martin writes to support Tom Rorie's debunking of America as a "Christian nation". I cannot comment on Rorie's writing, as I did not see it. But Mr. Martin does your readers a disservice by giving out of context quotes to prove his point. (Those interested in reviewing the context of any of these historical quotes may find them with simple Google searches.) Such selective quoting is part and parcel of the work of partisans on both sides of the "Christian nation"/"not a Christian nation" issue. 

His first quote by Washington is mis-referenced. This is from a letter to the General Committee of the United Baptist Churches in Virginia in May of 1789. Washington applauds their stand for religious liberty and appeals to them for the prayers. Immediately after what Mr. Martin quotes, Washington writes, "For you doubtless remember, that I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience." He concludes saying, "In the mean time be assured, Gentlemen, that I entertain a proper sense of your fervent supplications to God for my temporal and eternal happiness."

When Adams writes "It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven" the rest of the sentence is "...any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses." While Adams believes those who developed the American systems of government were no more directly inspired than those who work on ships or houses, he went to indicate that he himself believed the system of government was founded on the basic Christian religion: "The experiment is made, and has completely succeeded: it can no longer be called in question, whether authority in magistrates, and obedience of citizens, can be grounded on reason, morality, and the Christian religion, without the monkery of priests, or the knavery of politicians."

Adams did write that "the best of all possible worlds [would have] no religion in it." But this was an exasperated Adams who thought it but then could not endorse it. The quote is from a letter written by John Adams on April 19, 1817 to Thomas Jefferson, which with context provides a better understanding. "The Parson [Parish Priest Lemuel Bryant] and the Pedagogue [Adams's Latin School Master Joseph Cleverly] lived much together, but were eternally disputing about Government and Religion. One day, when the Schoolmaster had been more than commonly fanatical, and declared "if he were a Monark, He would have but one Religion in his Dominions" The Parson coolly replied "Cleverly! You would be the best Man in the World, if You had no Religion." Twenty times, in the course of my late Reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible Worlds, if there were no Religion in it." ! ! ! But in this exclamation I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company--I mean Hell."

In these examples I think we can see that Washington and Adams were not saying in the excerpts what might be assumed by the casual reader. As for Jefferson and Franklin, surely most understand that they were not "card-carrying" evangelical Christians. Yet they were not entirely antagonistic to some of the benefits of the religion, either. Franklin may have been one of the most unusual and eccentric of the Founding Fathers, and somewhat antagonist to organized religion. Yet it is apparently accurate that he concluded his Thursday, June 28, 1787, speech to the Constitutional Convention moving, "I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service." [This was reported by James Madison, and according to his report the Convention did not pass the motion.]

My point? Whether or not the United States of America was founded as a "Christian nation" is not a simple debate and will not be decided by quote-picking, whether done by Robert Martin or David Barton. There were many opinions among the founders about both politics and religion. But what we do know is this -- the United States of America was founded on the principle of the free exercise of all religions, or the free choice to not exercise any at all. Baptist minister John Leland advised, "Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians."

For those interested in reading the the contexts, most of this information can be found by searching the internet.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

With shape notes and a Sacred Harp

Here's a dab of doggerel for your day. Maybe some of you will enjoy it.

With shape notes and a Sacred Harp. C. M. (April 22, 2015)

1. There was a man in olden days
B. F. White was his name.
He made a friend in E. J. King
And taught him how to sing.

2. Together with their talents they
Compiled a great song book,
With shape notes and a Sacred Harp--
Well, that was all it took!

3. Young E. J. died before they could
Get their book back from press.
So B. F. took it on himself
To try to do his best.

4. He formed a music convention
They called Southern M. C.
It laid a solid foundation
From "A" to "Zynder-Zee."

5. The singing spread both near and far
Across the southern land;
To shape notes and The Sacred Harp,
A loyal faithful band.

6. When B. F. died there were no more
Editions of his book.
But lovers of the songs therein
Kept singing their hearts out.

7. Cooper and James and J. L. White
Decided that they could,
All take the book and revise it
For singers' future good.

8. The Densons came and did their part,
To add a future store
Of tunes made in the old time way
To sing on more and more.

9. The singings waned, but then blossomed
To spread from shore to shore;
And soon they couldn't be contained
Within the U.S. border.

10. Living composers write new tunes
In both important keys.
They write with strength, they write with power
With praise and energy.

11. With three song books and lots of heart
We're singing still today;
With shape notes and a Sacred Harp
In the old fashioned way.

12. We're singing loud, we're singing proud,
We're singing still today--
With shape notes and a Sacred Harp
In the old fashioned way.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This day in Baptist history

* April 22 -- "On April 22, 1834, at Altona, across from Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Barnas Sears baptized, in the Elbe, Johann Gerhard Oncken and six others." 

Fundamentalist witch hunt?

In an opinion piece on The Daily Beast, Karl W. Giberson describes Professor Tom Oord as the latest casualty of The Fundamentalist Witch Hunt. Giberson is certainly no unbiased reporter, and I found it interesting the different ways he feels about intellectuals and "fundamentalists". The "fundamentalists" are political, threatened, irate, homophobic, warmongers out for a witch hunt. On the other hand, the "thinking evangelicals" like Oord are beloved, intellectual, popular, respected, gentle, educated, pastoral, and lastly, victims. I can add two more -- dishonest and deceitful. Yes, when professors hide in seminaries supported by Bible-believing people who expect their students to be taught in accord with the faith they hold they are deceiving the people and being dishonest with the denominations that hire them.

* Disagreeing with Oord doesn't constitute agreement with how his termination was handled.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hamrick on Harmony, dispersed

"I think dispersed harmony is created throughout a piece of music where it is composed as most Sacred Harp composers do -- as horizontal strands rather than vertical chords. Each part is written so as to make it a singable tune of its own and this leads to 'open chords'. (Open chords being defined as chords in which another note can be inserted between the upper voices.) Sacred Harp composers move from 'open' to 'closed' chords without regard to where the change takes place in the phrase. Add to this the frequent crossing of voices throughout the composition, especially between treble and tenor, and we have two essential points in the style known as 'dispersed harmony'." -- Raymond Hamrick (in a letter to Hugh McGraw, November 1981)

I'm going to add this to my dispersed harmony definitions page, but wanted to post it here so folks might notice it. I thought it was interesting that Hugh and Raymond were discussing the correct meaning of 'dispersed harmony' as late as 1981.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Quotes from the words of Malcolm Muggeridge

"The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact." 

“For us humans, everything is permanent - until it changes, as we are immortal until we die” 

"People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to." 

"If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Hefner." 

"Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message." 

"All new news is old news happening to new people."

"Animistic savages prostrating themselves before a painted stone have always seemed to me to be nearer the truth than any Einstein or Bertrand Russell. As it might be pigs in a crowded sty, jostling and shoving to bury their snouts in the trough; until one of them momentarily lifts his snout upwards in the air, in so doing expressing the hope of all enlightenment to come; breaking off from his guzzling to point with his lifted snout to where the angels and archangels gather round God's throne."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Blood isn't thicker than water, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources.

“You must endeavour to enjoy the pleasure of doing good. That is all that makes life valuable. When I measure my own by that standard I am filled with confusion and despair.” -- Robert E. Lee

"The Word of God does not bow to contemporary culture." -- Dwight McKissic, Sr.

"What cruelly shapes and cripples the personality of one is as cruelly shaping and crippling the personality of the other." -- Lillian Smith

"Blood isn't thicker than the water of baptism!" -- H. B. Charles

"Only those who have been born of the Spirit of God truly know themselves as they really are: sinners in need of mercy." -- Ralph Dale

"I wonder what is must be to go up into the pulpit, and read somebody else’s sermon to the congregation. We read in the Bible of one thing that was borrowed, and the head of that came off; and I am afraid that the same thing often happens with borrowed sermons – the heads come off." -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"A doctrine in regression quickly becomes an item of convenience." -- Chris Johnson

"You may thunder, you may lighten, you may take the whip and flog a poor backslider; you can never flog him home. He must be drawn by mercy, by the goodness of God, which leads to repentance. How was Peter brought back? By that look which Jesus gave him, as he stood in the hall of the high priest; that look of mingled love and reproach." -- J. C. Philpot

Friday, April 17, 2015

10 reasons, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Anna Blackshear & Sacred Harp

Blackshear, Anna L. Cooper (Mrs. R. D.) (November 5, 1877—July 5, 1957) was the daughter of Wilson Marion Cooper and Mary S. Hayes. Anna married Randall David Blackshear (1861—1941) on June 20, 1897 in Coffee County, Alabama. They had a son, Gill Wyeth, born in 1898. In 1900 they were living in Oklahoma County in Oklahoma Territory. They returned to Alabama and appear there in the 1910 census.1 By 1916 they were in West Palm Beach, Florida and then Panama City in Bay County from the 1920 census until their deaths. After moving to Panama City, Anna Blackshear joined the First Baptist Church and was a member until her death. She served as Primary Department Sunday School Superintendent and as an officer of the Women's Missionary Union. Panama City newspaper accounts record her frequently teaching studies, presenting stories and giving book reviews to the WMU. She was active in the Bridge Club and other social events. Anna was a constituting member of the Dothan Harmony Club in October 1909, and also later served as its president. She was also a member and officer of the Dothan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the 1910s. She wrote alto parts for many songs in the book.2 She wrote the bass, alto and treble for Farewell, Vain World (95a). Her husband, Dr. Blackshear, published the 1927 revision of the book. Though most of her work was on alto parts, she composed The Lord is My Shepherd (229) and dedicated it to her grandparents, G. W. and N. L. Hayes. This song was removed in 1992.3 Anna and her husband are buried in the Dothan City Cemetery, Dothan, Houston County, Alabama.

1. Reports of the 1905 Alabama Baptist State Convention indicate the Blackshears had returned at least by the fall of that year.
2. Over 20% of the total alto project, Sarah Kahre
3. Described as an anthem “of a mixed genre and might be classified as an elaborate fuging tune, though it has solos, duets, and expressive markings. It is modal and exudes the feeling of folk music consistent with Sacred Harp tradition.” –  "The Anthems of the Sacred Harp Tunesmiths," Wallace McKenzie in The Sonneck Society Newsletter, Vol XI, Fall 1985, p. 75

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Festival of Melody

Yesterday I ran across this entertaining bit of poetry by Will Carleton:" The Festival of Melody; Or, The Singing-School." It is long, but perhaps you will think it is worth it.

Mr. Abraham Bates was a tune-stricken man,
Built on an exclusively musical plan;
With a body and soul that with naught could commune,
Unless it might somehow be set to a tune.
His features, harmoniously solemn and grim,
Resembled a doleful old long-meter hymn;
His smile, half-obtrusively gentle and calm,
Suggested the livelier notes of a psalm;
And his form had a power the appearance to lend
Of an overgrown tuning-fork, set upon end.
They who his accomplishments fathomed, averred
That he knew every tune that he ever had heard;
And his wife had a secret we all helped her keep,
That he frequently snored a rough tune in his sleep.
When he walked through the fields, with an inward-turned ear,
And a general impression that no one was near,
He with forefinger stretched to its fullest command,
Would beat quadruple time on the palm of his hand
(So firmly his singing-school habits would cling),
With his "Down, left, right, up! down, left, right, up! Sing!"

What a monarch he was, to us tune-killing wights
When he stood in the school-house, on long Winter nights,
With a dignity born our young souls to o'erwhelm,
Proclaiming the laws of his musical realm!
The black-board behind him frowned fierce on our sight,
Its old forehead creased with five wrinkles of white,
On which he paraded his armies of notes,
And sent on a raid through our eyes to our throats;
From the scenes of which partly harmonious turmoils
They issued, head-first, with our breath as their spoils.
How (in his particular specialty) grand
He looked, as he tiptoed, with bâton in hand,
And up, down, and up, in appropriate time,
Compelled us that slippery ladder to climb,
As he flourished his weapon, and marched to and fro,
With his "Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, sol, la, si, do!"

Nathaniel F. Jennings! how sadly you tried,
With your eyes a third closed, and your mouth opened wide,
To sport an acceptable voice, like the rest,
And cultivate powers that you never possessed!
They were just out of music, it used to be said,
When they drafted the plan of your square, shaggy head.
You fired at each note, as it were, in the dark,
As an amateur rifleman would at a mark;
And short of opinion, till after the shot,
Of whether you'd happen to hit it or not.
E'en then you didn't know, till your sharp eye was told
By the way that the master's would flatter or scold.
The latter more oft; for your chances, sad wight,
Were seven to be wrong against one to be right,
And ne'er was a tune so mellifluously choice,
You could not embitter the same, with your voice.
But though your grim head hadn't the shade of a tone,
Your heart had a musical style of its own;
And we all found it out, 'neath the forest-trees wild,
The last night we hunted for Davis's child.
"May as well give it up," said our leader: "No good;
We've hunted three days and three nights in this wood;
We may as well look at it just as it is:
He's eaten or starved, long enough before this."
And Davis spoke up: "It's a fact, boys; he's right";
But he leaned 'gainst a tree, looking death-like and white.
You exclaimed, when your eyes his mute agony met,
"I'll be blanked if I'll stand this! I'll hunt a week yet!"
Poor Davis crept round till he got by your side,
Caught hold of your hand like a baby, and cried,
A picture of grateful, incompetent woe—
('Twas rather dramatic, as incidents go;)
Then we all of us yelled, in a magnetized cry,
An absurd proposition to find him, or die.
It was only an hour and a quarter from then
Your wing-shout came skurrying o'er woodland and glen,
As if to go round the whole world it would strive,
"I've found the young blank, an' he's here an' alive!"
Your voice had, as usual, less music than might,
But you led a remarkable chorus that night;
An anthem of joy swelled from many a throat,
And you, as our chorister, gave the first note.
When your hand was near squeezed out of shape by your mates,
None shook it more warmly than Abraham Bates;
Who, suggesting (to you) an impossible thing,
Shouted, "Down, up! down, up! Sing!"

Little Clarissa Smith! how you thrilled through us all,
When you made that young soul-sweetened voice rise and fall!
The whippoorwill's voice is sweet-spoken and true,
But not with a heart and a spirit like you;
The lark trails the music of earth through the skies,
But the flame of her song does not flash from her eyes!
Our girl prima-donna!—Your fame was not spread,
Nor by world-wide applauses your vanity fed;
But you star with a grand brilliant company, now:
The laurels of Heaven have encircled your brow.
'Twas a dreary procession you led on that day
When so still in the old-fashioned coffin you lay;
No delicate casket, grief-laden with care,
And trimmed with exotics expensive and rare,
Had ever more tears on its occupant shed
Than you, in your old-fashioned coffin of red.
'Twas strange how the unstudied wiles of your art
Had soothed and delighted the average heart;
How much of Heaven's glory had glittered and smiled
Through the cultureless voice of an innocent child.
You looked very pretty, and half saucy, there,
With natural flowers in your girlish-combed hair;
And a little old half-worn-out book on your breast,
Containing the hymns that you used to sing best.
The roughest old villain that lived in our town
Stood back from the grave, and, with head hanging down,
Was heard, in a reverent whisper, to say,
"Heaven needed that voice, and God took it away."
And Abraham Bates, who, 'twas general belief,
Had never before given rein to a grief,
Felt sorrow sweep over his heart like a storm,
When it came, as it were, in a musical form;
And choked down and sobbed, with eyes filled to the brim,
While attempting to lead in the funeral hymn.
And long when the sound of that sorrow had waned,
In his rough old heart-caverns its echo remained;
And audible tears to the surface would spring,
Of that "Down, left, up! down, left, up! Sing!"

Mrs. Caroline Dean, how you revelled in song!
There was no singing-school to which you didn't belong,
Save in some locality far away, so
That you and your meek little husband couldn't go.
What a method was yours, of appearing prepared
To make every tune in the note-book look scared!
Your voice was voluminous, rather than rich,
And not predistinguished for accurate pitch;
But you seemed every word to o'erpoweringly feel,
And humbled and drove away skill with your zeal.
The villain referred to above, on the day
That you and your larynx were safe stowed away,
Didn't make the remark he was credited with
At the time of the burial of Clarissa Smith,
But muttered, as low with himself he communed,
"I suppose she will do, when they get her retuned."
Though the strains of the choir sounded weak and afraid
Without your soprano's stentorian aid,
Mr. Abraham Bates, if I was not deceived,
Worked lighter in harness, and acted relieved;
And when the hymn stated you "lovely and mild,"
And "as summer breeze gentle," he very near smiled;
For those who had learned his biography, knew
He had rather encounter a tempest than you,
When he dared, with a placating, angular smile,
To venture a hint on your musical style.
You remember how promptly he wilted, among
The tropical rays of your scorn-blazing tongue;
For your talents you easily turned, when you chose,
From fancy-gemmed song into plain business prose.
You knew how to make him as miserably meek
As a tin-peddler's horse at the close of the week.
You knew how to make a most desperate thing
That "Down, left, right, up! Sing!"

Sweet hymn-tunes of old!—You had blood in your hearts,
That pulsed glowing life through your several parts:
From bass to soprano it surging]y climbed,
As grandly the chords of your melody chimed!
"Coronation," that brought royal splendors in view,
And solemn "Old Hundred," invariably new—
That golden sledge-hammer, of ponderous grace,
That drove every word like a wedge to its place;
"Balerma," of melody full to the brim,
And "Pleyel's" grandly plaintive melodious hymn;
With others, that memory's ear loves to greet,
Which, with different names, might have sounded less sweet.
Then with what a loud concatenation of sounds
We charged in our might on the glees and the rounds!
There was nothing, though polished, or harsh and unkempt,
That we had not courage enough to attempt;
And if tunes, when suggestion of murder arrives,
Were not gifted, like cats, with a number of lives,
There's many a living and healthy old strain,
We'd have sent long ago to repose with the slain.

O strong Winter nights! when all earth was aglow
With crystal stars dancing on meadows of snow;
When the blade of youth, hilted with pleasure's gold wreath,
Flashed out of its home like a sword from a sheath,
And advanced o'er the plains and the hill-tops, to dare
The quick-cutting edge of the frost-tempered air!
How through foaming drifts we careened to and fro,
And tossed the white waves with our ship of the snow,
Which fluttered far back, as we sailed swift along,
A streamer of rich elementary song!

O tall, queenly nights! to eternity's haze
You have followed your short little husbands of days;
But jeweled and braided with youth-freshened strains,
Your memory-ghosts walk the hills and the plains.
Not one of life's glittering subsequent nights,
With feverish pleasures and costly delights,
On treasure-fringed harbors and sail-whitened bays,
Not nights lit with fashion's cold, variable blaze,
Not when the gay opera's beauty-sown song
Plants passion's red flowers in the hearts of the throng;
No nights, dressed in splendor and carried with grace,
Old brave Winter nights, can e'er stand in your place;
Till the long one of death may perhaps bring us nigh
To the star-lighted singing-school held in the sky.

From Farm Festivals by Will Carleton, New York, N.Y: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1882, pp. 86-93

Monday, April 13, 2015

Davis tune, page 575

Corelli, Arcangelo (February 17, 1653—January 8, 1713) was born in Fusignano, Italy. He was a violinist, composer, and teacher and has been labeled with titles such as "Founder of Modern Violin Technique," "World's First Great Violinist," and "Father of the Concerto Grosso." According to historians, he "exercised a wide influence on his contemporaries and on the succeeding generation of composers." He died in 1713 in Rome. The Sacred Harp tune Davis comes from the hymn tune Londsalewhich in turn was derived by Ralph Harrison from a sonata movement by Arcangelo Corelli. Another four-shape arrangement of this appeared on page 88 of Union Harp and History of Songs under the title Ain.

Davis, Robert Marion (January 15, 1866—August 13, 1944) was the son of Dr. Robert Henry Davis (1824—1890; see Steel, p.104) – co-composer of 119 with John S. Terry – and Mary Ann Law (1830—1891). Davis arranged Sweet Peace and Lonsdale for 1927 edition of The Sacred Harp. He married first Mary Ann Nicholson in 1886 and after her death Emma Mosley in 1909. Robert M. and Mary Ann are buried at the Springfield Baptist Church Cemetery, Brundidge, Pike County, Alabama. R. M. Davis keyed music at Sacred Harp singings. He was a mentor of black Sacred Harp songster Dewey Williams, who said, “I’ve sung in every room of old man Davis’s house.”

Sunday, April 12, 2015


"Lead me not into temptation...I'll usually find the way there all by myself." (copied)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

New-to-the-book and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

“People may say I can’t sing, but nobody will say I didn’t sing.” -- Florence Foster Jenkins, from Sacred Harp Detroit

Sweet Peace and Rest

Marshall, Leonard (May 3, 1809—July 1, 1890) was born, according to some sources in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and others in Hudson, New Hampshire. He was a composer, teacher of vocal music, and served as music director of several churches in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He was also popular as a tenor soloist. He lived in Boston for most of his life. In the 1830s he was a member of the Billings and Holden Society. In October 1843 he became a member of the Handel and Haydn Society. He died at Hudson in New Hampshire on July 1, 1890. Marshall compiled several musical books, including The Antiquarian (1849), The Harpsichord (with Henry N. Stone, 1852), The Hosanna (1856), The Sacred Star (1861), Sabbath Songs for Children's Worship (with J. C. Proctor and Samuel Burnham, 1869), and The Champion (1879). According to Burrage, he wrote the words to an Easter hymn which begins "Jesus Christ, our precious Savior," and the 8.7.4. meter hymn beginning "Ever gracious, loving Savior, Come and bless us from on high." His brother, Wyzeman Marshall, was a noted stage actor in New York City and Boston. His arrangement of the sentence or benediction "May grace and truth, sweet peace and rest, dwell in each breast" is the basis of the tune SWEET PEACE on page 574 of the 2012 edition of The Sacred Harp.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

No Poo and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Away Here in Texas

From an old newspaper:

While dealing in gems of poetry, we have all at once bethought ourselves of a piece of it, which has been for several weeks on our table, patiently biding its time; and we hasten to send it out, with a wager that the luxuriant imagination of a new people never brought our a production so poetically put together as is this inventory of the vegetable and humanly resources of the lone start State! Now, if we thought the author would thereby be induced to make a business of writing poetry, we might not deal lenienly with him. We really have no such fears, however; and we kindly give him over to fame, without one single compunction of conscience. The poem came to us from

Away Here in Texas.

Away here in Texas, the bright, Sunny South
The cold storms of Winter defies,
The dark, lurid clouds that envelop the North
Seldom darken our beautiful skies.

Away here in Texas, the sun shines bright,
The stars in calm beauty appear,
The full moon in splendor illumines the night,
The seasons roll round with the year!

Away here in Texas, we have beautiful flowers,
Peculiarly brilliant and gay;
The birds with their music beguile the dark hours,
And enchantingly sing all the day.

Away here in Texas, the white cotton-fields
Are like plains that are covered with snow;
Acorns in abundance the teeming earth yields,
And oats most luxuriantly grow!

Away here in Texas, potatoes do well!
Turnips and cabbage likewise!
Peas, beans and melons all nature excel,
And pumpkins obtain a fair size!

Away here in Texas, we've grass very fine--
Water-melons and hickory-nuts, too;
We've "haws" and we've also the sweet muscadine,
And berries, the "black" and the "dew."

Away here in Texas, we've all sorts of game,
That's found in the temperate clime;
We've wood on the hills and grass on the plains,
To shelter and fatten the kine.

Away here in Texas, we've all kinds of people,
From the gent' and the belle to the slave--
From the grand highfalutin’ as tall as a steeple,
To the veriest droll and the knave.

Away here in Texas, the Doctors are poor,
They must either work hard, beg or steal;
The climate's so healthy and charmingly pure,
Afflictions we scarce ever feel.

Away here in Texas, the Methodists thrive,
Presbyterians, the Old and the New,
And Baptists--all souls are engaged in the drive--
The disciples of Campbell are few.

Away here in Texas, a stranger I roam,
Unknown to all but a few,
I still live in hopes of a far better home,
When I take my last, parting adieu.

Away here in Texas, my journey shall end,
My body must rest in the ground,
But I hope to arise and heaven-ward ascend,
When the last, pealing trumpet shall sound!

Yorkville Enquirer. (Yorkville, S.C.) April 17, 1856, Image 2