Praise Notes: The Book of Praise Hymn#15

Fifth in a series of posts that go through hymns in The Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. 

Hymn #15

The Lord’s my light

Psalm 27
St. Magnus
Paraphrase, Scottish  Psalter 1650
Music: Jeremiah Clarke, from Divine Companion 1707  public domain.
The Lord’s my light and saving health;
who shall make me dismayed?
God is the stronghold of my life:
who shall make me afraid?
Though wars arise and armies camp
against me, I’ll not fear;
I will stand firma
 and confident:
I know that God is near.
One thing I asked of God the Lord,
and will seek to obtain,
that all days of my life I may
within God’s house remain;
that I the beauty of the Lord
may worship and admire,
that I in God’s most holy place
may reverently enquire.
In evil, troubled days, my God
will hide and shelter me,
and raise me high upon a rock
above my enemy.
Now I will offer sacrifice
for all God’s saving grace,
with melody unto the Lord
and joyful shouts of praise!

If you have been following this series it is quite likely that as you read through the lyrics you said to yourself, “I know the first thing Cathy is going to comment on!”  If you did that, in reference to the third and fourth verses, you are spot on!  A verse in a song should not, or at least would not normally, begin with a lower case letter as each verse should be complete unto itself!  Since the paraphrase goes over eight phrases rather than four, perhaps a melody should have been chosen which was done in eight phrase verses.  Another option would have been to have a bridge inserted to carry those extra lines of verse three, rather than calling it verse four.

The tune St. Magnus is a pretty familiar melody, at least in the churches in my area.  In 4/4 time, the range is not wide and it is easy to sing.  It is used for four of the hymns in the Book of Praise all of which will be included, eventually, in this series.  It is also used frequently to substitute for less familiar tunes for hymns which follow the 8686 meter such as In Christ there is no east and west.  It is frequently used as a melody for the Gloria Patri;

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
the God whom we adore
be glory as it was and is
and shall be evermore.

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