Eighth in a series of posts that go through hymns in The Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church of Canada.
Oh send thy light forth
Psalm 43 St. PaulParaphrase, Scottish Psalter 1650Music: James Chalmers’ Collection, 1749 public domain
Oh send thy light forth and thy truth;
let them be guides to me,
and bring me to thine holy hill,
even where thy dwellings be.
Then to God’s altar I will go
to God, my chiefest joy;
O God, my God, to praise thy name
my harp I will employ.
Why art thou then cast down, my soul?
What should discourage thee?
And why with vexing thoughts art thou
disquieted in me?
Thou art my refuge and my help,
my God that doth me raise.
I hope in God; I will again
have cause to give thee praise.
The paraphrase is good. It skips over the first section of the Psalm and then follows quite closely for three verses without any strange syntax in order to achieve rhymes. The final verse is a combination of lines from the opening sequence of the Psalm and the last two lines.
The tune for this hymn is also a good one. I prefer it without the use of the half-notes at phrase endings. I believe they were put in to approximate the traditional practice of putting a fermata at the end of each phrase. I’m not sure about the half notes at the beginning of the phrases, they seem a bit gratuitous. Check out the rhythm in hymn 76 to see how much more nicely it flows.