The Epiphany Season
There's some marvelous hymnody by a man named Godfrey Thring (1823-1903).
He is the author hymn 454 in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 "Jesus came, adored by angels". The original first line of this hymn is "Jesus came—the heavens adoring".
But this time of year I want to draw attention to his marvelous hymn for an Epiphany procession, "From the eastern mountains". The hymn is included in the English Hymnal of 1906. It contains numerous alliterative turns of phrase in the first part of the hymn.
With this much wordsmithing early on, the familiar "Jew and Gentile" and "heavenly home" really lose their punch. But the double whammy "nor sin nor sorrow" gives a final zing.
It's fun writing, I've never been to a service where it has been sung, and it matches marvelously to the Vaughan Williams tune KING'S WESTON.
From the eastern mountains, pressing on, they come, wise men in their wisdom, to his humble home; stirred by deep devotion, hasting from afar, ever journeying onward, guided by a star. There their Lord and Savior meek and lowly lay, wondrous Light that led them onward on their way, ever now to lighten nations from afar, as they journey homeward by that guiding star. Thou who in a manger once hast lowly lain, who dost now in glory o'er all kingdoms reign, gather in the heathen who in lands afar ne'er have seen the brightness of thy guiding star. Onward through the darkness of the lonely night, shining still before them with thy kindly light. Guide them, Jew and Gentile, homeward from afar, young and old together, by thy guiding Star. Until every nation, whether bond or free, 'neath thy starlit banner, Jesus, follows thee. O'er the distant mountains to that heavenly home, where nor sin nor sorrow evermore shall come.
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