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Plymouth Hymnal.

For the Church
the Social Meeting

and the Home

Edited by Lyman Abbott

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With the coöperation of Charles H. Morse and

Herbert Vaughan Abbott

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DAY 24, 1939

Copyright, 1893


University Press

A 12 til


sacred song

T has been the aim of the Editor to make this Hymnal a discriminating selection, not a comprehensive collection, of

For this purpose more than five thousand hymns and poems have been critically examined, and as many tunes. This selection has been based on the belief

that beauty of form and depth of feeling are consistent, not inconsistent, qualities; that the act of worship calls for man's highest powers, — moral, intellectual, and æsthetic; that the perfunctory and the didactic, no less than the merely quaint and the ingenious, have no place in public devotions; and that a hymn is all the profounder expression of

universal experience for being so heartfelt an expression of its author's | experience as to be pervaded by his individuality, and even touched by his idiosyncrasies.

The Editor has not asked that the hymns he has selected should conform to any school of thought or any customary mode of expression. He has laid stress on intrinsic excellence alone, which he has not thought should be sacrificed to merely temporary convenience or musical effect or ecclesiastical habit. He has drawn from all sources, — the English of Dryden and of Carlyle; the German of Luther and of Goethe; the Danish of Hans Christian Andersen ; the French of Lamartine and Madame Guyon ; the mediæval Greek and Latin; the American verse of Longfellow, Bryant, Holmes, Whittier, Harriet Beecher Stowe. In a similar spirit, all phases of Christian experience, — the Arminian and the Calvinistic, the tender and the strong, the distinctively personal and the ecclesiastical, — he has sought to represent.

Hymns intended for public worship should be expressions either of prayer, of praise, of consecration, or invitations thereto. With rare exceptions, only such are to be found in this Hymnal. Poems adapted for devotional reading, such as Keble's narrative, “When God of old came down from Heaven," and metrical definitions of doctrine or of spiritual experience, such as Montgomery's descriptive verse, “ Prayer is the soul's sincere desire," however beautiful they may be, are not included.


In the work of editing, the integrity of every hymn has been scrupulously regarded. Where hymns have been abridged, it has been to enhance their value, by the exclusion of irrelevant, redundant, or infelicitous stanzas, and not for typographical or any other mechanical convenience; when a hymn has been altered, it has been to adopt a form tested and hallowed by Christian usage, or, in rare instances, to correct such infelicities in metre or in expression as would prove serious obstacles in Christian worship. Changes have never been made in order to please the individual taste or the theological opinions of the Editor, or simply to better, in his judgment, an inoffensive expression. From such interference with the words of an author, he has scrupulously refrained. All alterations introduced into this volume intentionally are noted in the Index of Translators and Revisers.

The tunes have been selected on the theory that congregations can sing the best chorus music, which may or may not be simple, but must have a certain rhythm and movement that the mind can retain. With very few exceptions, no tune has been admitted that is deemed unsuitable for congregational use; a few are inserted which can be used with good effect by a solo voice, a quartet, or a chorus choir in conjunction with the congregation. It must be remembered, however, that familiarity with, not trivial simplicity of, music is the secret of good congregational singing; and every new tune contained in these pages, to be sung worthily, should first be sung often enough to familiarize the ear with the melody. In endeavoring to make the volume inclusive of the best congregational music at command to-day, the Editor has carefully examined the best work of every school, the German choral, the early and the modern English, the early and the modern American. Adaptations from secular music, he has carefully avoided ; adaptations from oratorios he has, with few exceptions, avoided. Among the tunes are more than a score furnished by some of the leading musicians of the United States.

In the adaptations of the music to the words, no settings thoroughly familiar to the churches have been discarded without much consideration. An equal regard has been paid to the selection of words for which each tune was originally designed by the composer. Although great care has been expended in uniting each hymn to appropriate music, opportunity is given in many instances to congregations to alter the adaptations of the Editor. Thus, hymn 42 may be sung, if desired, to tune 43 ; hymn 51 to tune 50; hymn 200 to tune 201 ; hymn 248 to tune 247. A record of such alternative settings will be found incorporated in the indexes at the back of the volume.

To increase congregational participation in church service, there are appended to the Hymnal a few simple Orders of Service, and some Scrip

ture selections especially selected and adapted to responsive reading. Liturgies are not made, they grow. Therefore no new liturgies have been constructed for this book; the services suggested have, in the main, been simply abridged and adapted from the Orders of Service most familiar to Congregational worshippers, - that hallowed by long usage in the Protestant Episcopal Church. In connection with these Orders of Service a few simple chants are printed; and the first twenty-four hymns and tunes have been selected with especial reference to use in the opening of service, in the belief that the first act of public worship should be, not an anthem sung to the congregation, but a hymn of prayer and praise sung by the congregation.

While the entire preparation of the book, both literary and musical, has been under my general supervision, so that I cannot claim exemption from responsibility for any feature in it, that preparation would have been impossible without the co-operation of Mr. Charles H. Morse, who has assisted me throughout in the selection and adaptation of the tunes, and has undertaken the whole work of technical musical superintendence; and of my son, Mr. Herbert Vaughan Abbott, who in the preparation of the Hymnal has made a special and painstaking study of English hymnody.

I am also indebted for valuable suggestions in the preparation of this Hymnal to the Rev. Amory H. Bradford, D.D., the Rev. James A. Chamberlain, D.D., the Rev. Washington Gladden, D.D., the Rev. William Pierson Merrill, D.D., the Rev. Theodore T. Munger, D.D., Dr. H. R. Palmer, the Rev. Edwin P. Parker, D.D., and many others.

On another page will be found a list of acknowledgments for permission by authors or owners of copyrights to use copyrighted hymns and tunes.

In the Historical Introduction following this Preface, I have explained the connection of this Hymnal with its predecessor, “ Plymouth Collection,” traced briefly the rise of congregational music in the United States, and stated the principles which it seems to me must govern choir-masters and clergy in endeavoring to promote congregational participation in public worship through the medium of sacred song.



BROOKLYN, June, 1893.

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