December 07, 2009

a cradle hymn

on 12/6, the musical offering that we sang was "A Cradle Hymn", a lullaby written from the perspective of a father or mother, singing at the bedside of their crying infant. this is a fairly obscure hymn by Isaac Watts, and being in good Watts form, it is 13 verses in its fullest form (at least, in what I could find online). this particular hymn has personal resonance considering recent events in the Brodine family.

I came across this hymn on a recording by the group Ordinary Time to a great American melody from the Sacred Harp (see embedded player below to hear the recording). I would highly recommend getting the whole album as it is more of an "Advent Album" than just a "Christmas Album". it can be found on eMusic and CD Baby, among other places. they also recorded another one of my favorite hymns, "Thou Who Wast Rich".

Here are the lyrics for their version, just 9 verses long:

Hush, my dear! Lie still, and slumber!
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings, without number,
Gently falling on thy head.

Sleep, my babe! thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care or payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.

How much better thou’rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven he descended,
And became a child like thee!

Soft and easy is thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When his birthplace was a stable,
And his softest bed was hay.

Blessed Babe! what glorious features,—
Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must he dwell with brutal creatures?
How could angels bear the sight?

Was there nothing but a manger
Cursed sinners could afford,
To receive the heavenly stranger?
Did they thus affront the Lord?

Soft, my child! I did not chide thee,
Though my song might sound too hard:
’Tis thy mother sits beside thee,
And her arm shall be thy guard.

Lo, he slumbers in a manger,
Where the horned oxen fed!—
Peace, my darling, here’s no danger:
There’s no ox a–near thy bed.

’Twas to save thee, child, from dying,
Save my dear from burning flame,
Bitter groans and endless crying,
That thy blest Redeemer came.

May’st thou live to know and fear him,
Trust and love him all thy days,
Then go dwell for ever near him:
See his face, and sing his praise!

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