Category Archives: Poetry and Songs
I recently expanded my earlier metrical version of the Genesis account of Babel to include some further points on the history of language from that point onwards and beyond the veil of Eternity. Hope you enjoy this and find it edifying.
The earth had once one speech o’erall. One tongue men used, to tell
From th’East to Shinar’s plain they came and settled there, to dwell.
Among themselves did they conspire “Bricks let us make,” said they
“To building stones them throughly burn and slime for morter lay.”
“Go to,” said they, “a city great, a tow’r to reach the sky,
We shall construct unto ourselves, our name to magnify
Lest scattered far abroad we be the whole earth’s face around”
They built the walls from bricks they’d baked and slime from lime they’d found.
The Lord looked down at Adam’s kin and saw their undertaking
He knew that left alone this would become mankind’s unmaking
Although still in his infancy, not yet a million souls
Mankind was learning things with which he’d score fatal own goals
Adamic language and long life allowed the human mind
To know and build technologies while immature and blind
The Lord said “See, this people is by language unified
Now can no thing their power restrain their will to realise”
“Now let Us unto them descend, their language to confound
That each the other’s speech and tongue no more may understand.”
And so the LORD did scatter them all o’er the earth from thence.
Their city no more could they build. Its name is Babel hence:
That there the LORD in mighty pow’r the earth’s speech did confound,
And He from thence did scatter them the whole earth’s face around.
For here the Lord unto each soul his single language giving
Ensured that man’s wish was to be with but close kindred living
And so each man his nearest took and from the crowd did flee
They lived alone until they spoke one tongue per family
The mother taught the babies hers, the father also learned it
The elder siblings got to add some features if they earned it
And families at length combined by dint of need to wed
So tribal languages emerged as Babel’s tongues went dead
And tribe fought tribe, and strong tribes grew, their tribal tongue promoting:
The structure ever simpler, the word-stock ever growing
And as they filled the earth and crossed each hill and vale and river,
Some tribes grew great and in due course their languages did sever
Through ice and fire and flood and marsh men walked and faced all dangers
To use all space this world allowed and grow to outnumber angels
And language families emerged that had one time been one
But once again they could no more grasp one another’s tongue.
One tribe, the seed of Abraham, in whom all would be blest
Got history and prophesy to cherish for the rest.
But man since Babel always sought to get back there again
To build the city, raise the tower and make himself a name.
To make the countries all one state and into Unions bind
And place a ruler over all, as blind will lead the blind
Each man who tasted power’s rush soon hatched the grand ambition
To subjugate all men to himself as slaves to his volition.
But rulership of this world here is but for its Creator.
It is reserved for God the Christ and He shall take it later.
For only Christ makes all things good: he’ll teach us what was missing
And speak to us in tongues of men, while angels throng to listen.
And when the Resurrection comes and all things be made new,
That ancient tongue shall sound again, the one that Adam knew.
The lives of men became too short to learn that perfect tongue
But it will be a joy to learn for the forever-young.
And so when we are healed in heart, bodies and minds restored
Again we’ll learn that language giv’n to Adam by the Lord.
This is the tenth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’s this one – number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.
10. “O BLEST AND ONLY POTENTATE”
(Words and music, Uncle Davey, Cambridge, 1986. Tune name “Alexandra”.) In fact this is the only one of the hymns where I prefer my own tune, Alexandra, which is an 8888 metre tune.
At the moment I don’t have a version of the tune Alexandra to upload.
My suggested chord progression, if the melody starts on E, is C, C, d, e, C / C, G, e, F, G7 / d, d, e, F, G7 / d, F, d, F, C, (G7).
The hymn was written as a one-off, at a different time, rather later than the others, after it seemed that I had stopped writing hymns. I did not even keep it over the years in the same book with the others. Nevertheless, it must be evident that it is much of a muchness with the other hymns written by me, possibly the best of them from a poetic viewpoint, with much theology. Probably if someone felt they could take only one hymn from my collection and add it to a hymn book for use in churches, I suppose I would most rather that this one were chosen, especially as it has its own tune, with number six as possibly second choice.
As befits a closing hymn, this one is based on a New Testament doxology, in this case a pauline doxology for Timothy, that tells us among many other verses that Christ is God. If you have been looking at all the hymns from the beginning of the collection to this, the end, thank you for your patience in bearing with me. I consider it a tremendous priviledge to have a readership, and am always delighted with any feedback, either by mail or on the comments section. Another project I have in mind for the future is a page linking to my most favorite hymns of all time.
God bless, and please enjoy the articles and other parts of my site.
O blest and only Potentate,
Thou King of Kings and Lord of Lords
I look unto Thy mercies great
And I am lost, am lost for words.
Thou didst in kindness set Thy love
Upon this wicked soul of mine
E’en or Thou camest from above
E’en or the sun, the sun did shine.
Thou hast in anguish lovéd me
When beat the sun upon Thy brow
When nailéd to the accurséd tree
For me at Calvary wast Thou.
T’was then all bleeding on the rood
That Thou didst mine atonement make
Thou didst eclipse the wrath of God
In dying, dying for my sake.
Although Thou righteous art alway
And glorious in Thine holiness
Yet didst Thou take my plague away
And clothe me, clothe me in Thy dress.
Christ, Thou hast scanned mine inmost thought
Yea, known mine every grief and care
And Thou hast intercession wrought
And holy, spotless made my prayer.
Shall I not say; Thou art my King?
My Lord and God I shall adore
Thy name proclaim, thy glories sing
Henceforth, till death, and evermore.
“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6 vv 13-16)
First published 27th June 2004, on usenetposts.com
This is the ninth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the right hand side bar.
9. “THE EARTH HAD ONCE ONE SPEECH O’ERALL”
(Words Uncle Davey, Hemel Hempstead, 31st December 1984. Music Charles Collignon (1725-1785) Tune name “University”.) The tune is often sung to Scottish Psalms arranged in common metre. The Scottish Church made many arrangements of scripture in common metre, which is the 126.96.36.199 metre we see here, because they believed in keeping all worship as close to the bible as possible, and what better than to actually sing the Bible, and hence there is a whole book of metrical Psalms for use by Presbyterians and it has various other portions of the Word of God other than the Psalms also in metre.
This was my attempt at putting into common metre a particular favorite passage of mine, namely the explanation in Genesis 11 verses 1-9 of where languages appeared. (There is more discussion of this matter in my article “On the Origin of Speeches” on this site, if you have any doubt in your mind about the absolute literal reliability of the scriptures with regard to the Babel event). Note also the ‘us’ of ‘Let Us go down’. The triune God was involved in the confounding of the Adamic Language, and Christ himself, the second Adam and the Living Word, was involved in providing the very words of all the post Adamic living languages!
Collignon is a little known figure, this tune being the only one of his which is generally used. It is named one assumes for Cambridge University, where he lived and taught, and where I also lived and learned, but two centuries later, worshipping the same Jesus, who had not changed a bit over that time.
First published 27th June 2004, Go back to list of hymns, Go back to home page or Go to Bulletin Board
(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)
The earth had once one speech o’erall
One tongue men used, to tell
From th’east to Shinar’s plain they came
And settled there to dwell
Among themselves did they conspire
“Bricks let us make,” said they
“To building stones them throughly burn
And slime for morter lay.”
“Go to,” said they, “a city great,
A tow’r to reach the sky,
We shall construct unto ourselves
Our name to glorify
Lest scattered far abroad we be
The whole earth’s face upon”
The LORD then from on high beheld
Their tow’r and city strong.
The LORD said “See, this people is
By language unified
Now can no thing their power restrain
Their will to realise”
“Now let Us unto them descend
Their language to confound
That each the other’s speech and tongue
No more may understand.”
And so the LORD did scatter them
All o’er the earth from thence.
Their city no more could they build.
It’s name is Babel hence:
That there the LORD in mighty pow’r
The earth’s speech did confound,
And He from thence did scatter them
The whole earth’s face around.
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11 v 1-9)
(I don’t really mean this, it’s just a humorous poem, which I wrote ten years ago, and just came across it going through old papers…)
If you were a daphnia,
A hydra or a snail,
You’d be more scared of a clown loach
Than of a killer whale.
Small things bother the little ones
Great things bother the great
So don’t come at me with your issues
Trying to upwardly delegate.
This came to me on the plane the other day. It is not really a sonnet as they are supposed to be iambic pentameter, and this is iambic quadrameter, but a verse is a verse for better or worse. See if you like it.
To sing a new song to the Lord
And yet include there no strange fire
To take up psaltery and lyre
And sing according to His Word
How can the song be new, and yet
Stay in the range that God commands?
Right ways to praise and worship’s bounds,
These God within His Word has set.
The Gospel is the song that’s new
New from the cross and empty tomb
This song is new yet ancient too
Planned ere a child had breached a womb.
We are the children planned to be
God’s own, a people He set free.
This is the eighth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.
8 . “THE LORD ABOVE IS KEEPING HIS WATCH UPON MY SOUL”
(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, October-November 1985. Music John Pyke Hullah (1812-1884) Tune name “Bentley”. The tune is usually sung to the excellent hymn “Sometimes a light surprises the christian while he sings”, by the very famous poet and hymnwriter William Cowper. The hymn is such a favorite of mine that I would like to put Cowper’s words here for your perusal first:
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, Who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.
Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.
I have used Hullah’s tune for a similar topic, confidence in God, which seems to echo through the notes of this hymn. I cannot compare my poetry to that of Cowper, for all I might like to try, but at least the theme is the same.
First published 27th June 2004, on usenetposts.com
The Lord above is keeping
His watch upon my soul
His guardian care unsleeping
Keeps me both strong and whole
His angels watch my feet tread
They make secure my track
My going out is guarded
So too my coming back.
The nets and gins of satan
Are set to do me harm
Yet God my Father keeps me
With His almighty arm
The greatest tests and trials
Can scarcely me distress
Nor demons’ practised wiles
For long my soul depress.
The providence and caring
Of God, my Lord on high
Shall keep me from despairing
And guide me till I die
Till I, with eyes immortal
His guardian angels see
Yea more, at heaven’s portal
“The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121 v 8)
- Why Are the Psalms Numbered Differently? (jimmyakin.com)
- Psalms 2 – The Reign of the LORD’s Anointed (revthechristianlife.wordpress.com)
- Amazing Grace (theophilusmaranatha.wordpress.com)
|Playout date:||22 October 2006|
|Post Production:||Windows Movie Maker – slight use|
|Other people featured:||None|
|Music used:||Cyberhymnal.net’s arrangement of hymn tune “Hyfrydol“|
The beautiful hymn by Robert Robinson, this time sung to the tune Hyfrydol.
I did both voices, the melody and the bass part. Can you work out which is the one I’m singing on the video?
An interesting story about this hymn, courtesy of cyberhymnal.org where I also got the midi (this is allowed by them, by the way, as long as you credit, which I am doing)
Robert Robinson had a difficult time with his faith in the latter part of his life, having been converted at 17 and having written this and other hymns as a young man. The story is told of how one day, he encountered a woman who was studying a hymnal, and she asked how he liked the hymn she was humming. In tears, he replied, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
- Sabbath Evening Post #19: A Hymn That I Love (bluemustang5.wordpress.com)
- A Commentary on Hymns (sjbrown58.wordpress.com)
- Behind The Hymns: Tis Sweet To Sing The Matchless Love (harmonyavenue.wordpress.com)
- Your Sunday Hymn: I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say (nicedeb.wordpress.com)
- Hymn of Praise: #1 Praise to the Lord (thedisconsolategarden.wordpress.com)