Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Language of the Sky

THE SKY 389b, Sacred Harp tune by R. F. M. Mann, 1869

Loud swell the pealing organ’s notes;
Breathe forth your soul in raptures high;
Praise ye the Lord with harp and voice;
Join the full chorus of the sky.

Say how may earth and heav'n unite?
And how shall man with angels join?
What link harmonious may be found?
Discordant nature to combine?

This hymn was written by Anna Letitia Aikin Barbauld (1743-1825). According to John Julian (pp. 113-114), it first appeared in 1807 in the supplement to A Collection of Hymns and Psalms for Public and Private Worship selected and prepared by Andrew Kippis, Abraham Rees, Thomas Jervis and Thomas Morgan (1795). It is hymn 8 on page 8 in the supplement in the back of the book. It is titled "The Harmony of Praise." The original appears in slightly different wording and form from our present hymn in The Sacred Harp. The order of the stanzas are reversed. Rather than long meter, it is It is as follows:

How may earth and heav'n unite?
How shall man with angels join?
What link harmonious may be found
Discordant natures to combine?

Swell the pealing organ’s notes!
Breathe your souls in raptures high!
In praises men with angels join;--
Music's the language of the sky.

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