Hymn of the Week: September 19
by William Partridge,
Canon Precentor Organist and Choirmaster,
Christ Church Cathedral
Hymn 482: Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy
This matching of text and tune first appeared in an Episcopal hymnal in The Hymnal 1940, where, because of the direct appeal of the text and the accessibility and beauty of the tune, it gained immediate acceptance by congregations across the country.
Originally printed in the enlarged Song of Praise (London, 1931), this text by Jan Struther is a prayer for God's presence at some of the daily activities of life, for example, waking, sleepiing, laboring, and returning home. The almost naive imagery of the text suuits the simple folk-song qualities of the melody SLANE with its gegngle flowing metre.
Of Irish folk origin, the hymn tune SLANE seems to have been named for a hill about 10 miles from Tara hill in County Meath. It is on Slane hill, according to the account in the Confessions of St. Patrick, that the Irish saint defied the command of the pagan king Loigaire by lighting the Paschal fire on Easter eve.
SLANE first appeared in a hymnal of the Episcopal Church Hymnal 1940 set to two texts. The melody has several characteristics usually associated with Irish folk tunes: a relatively wide range, a four-phrase structure with no repetition resulting in a formal design ABCD, and singability and unique charm that gives the melody a broad popular appeal.
Enjoy the hymn in this video: