Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sleep Not, Soldier

While searching for hymns in 7s. meter, I ran across “Sleep Not, Soldier” by Elizabeth Gaskell (1810–1865). I was unfamiliar with the hymn and the writer. The source where I found the hymn, Timeless Truths, says it was first published in 1848.

Elizabeth Gaskell was born Lindsey Row, Chelsea, London, as Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson. She was the daughter of William Stevenson and Elizabeth Holland. Her mother died when Elizabeth was 13 months old, and an aunt raised her. In 1832 she married William Gaskell, a Unitarian minister. She was a writer of poetry, short stories, and novels -- some of which have been adapted for television by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Elizabeth died in 1865 in Hampshire, while visiting a home she had purchased there.

The hymn is perhaps set with various tunes. One I found was Navarre, arranged by Daniel B. Towner in 1908.

1. Sleep not, soldier of the cross,
Foes are lurking all around;
Look not here to find repose;
This is but thy battleground.

2. Up! and take thy shield and sword!
Up! it is the call of Heav’n;
Shrink not faithless from thy Lord;
Nobly strive, as He hath striv’n.

3. Break through all the force of ill;
Tread the might of passion down;
Struggling onward, onward still,
To thy conqu’ring Savior’s crown.

4. Through the midst of toil and pain,
Let this thought ne’er leave thy breast;
Every triumph thou dost gain
Makes more sweet thy coming rest.

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