Monday, March 1, 2010

Farewell Song

In the early months of 1840, a number of Elders met in New York where they were preparing to journey to England. Elders Turley, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Clark and two [unnamed] Elders had already left. The remaining Elders, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and R. Hedlock held a Conference, in the “Columbian Hall,” prior to leaving in which they sung the following song, composed by Parley P. Pratt just for the occasion. At the time it was titled “Farewell Song”

When shall we all meet again?
When shall we our rest obtain?
When our pilgrimage be o’er—
Parting sighs be known no more;
When Mount Zion we regain,
There may we all meet again,

We to foreign climes repair;
Truth, the message which we bear;
Truth, which angels oft have borne;
Truth to comfort those who morn.
Truth eternal will remain,
On its rock we’ll meet again.

Now the bright and morning star
Spreads its glorious light afar,
Kindles up the rising dawn
Of that bright Millennial morn;
When the Saints shall rise and reign,
Then may we all meet again. (In the clouds we'll meet again. 1891)

When the sons of Israel come,
When they build Jerusalem;
When the house of God is reared,
And Messiah’s way prepared;
When from Heaven he comes to reign,
In the clouds we’ll meet again. (Then we all may meet again. 1891)

When the earth is cleansed by fire;
When the wicked’s hopes expire;
When in cold oblivion’s shade,
Proud oppressors all are laid;
Long will Zion’s Mount remain,
There we all may meet again.

It didn't take long for the Hymn to find its way into print. By May 1840 the song was in Times and Seasons without any musical notation save the word "Hymenial" at the end.

That same year it was included in England in the Manchester Hymnal #220. Not surprizing since Parley was one of the publishers. It also did not have any musical notation except "6-7's" which I'm sure means something about meter, but not being even remotely gifted musically, I really have no idea.

The song made it into the Latter Day Saint Psalmody in 1889 No. 210 (page 247) With a title "Burton" and arranged by T. C. Griggs. Only three of the verses were included.

In 1909 it appears as No. 74 in an LDS hymnal called Songs of Zion under the names W. W. Phelps and J. C. Fones. This time full musical score is included, but only four verses.

I don't have access to the 1927 or 1948 Hymnals to see if it was included in either of those, but it did not make it into the 1985 Hymnal.

Of course all of this has little to do with why I bring it up. And why is that you ask? Well, in 1884, this song was the last sung at a small branch meeting in Lewis County, Tennessee, before the house in which the service was being held was attacked by a vigilante mob. The hymn inspired Elder John H. Gibbs, reminding him of a scripture about which he planned to center his message. While looking for the passage from the Bible he was shot and killed.


Ardis said...

You have a genius for finding new ways to take us back to that scene again and again and again and making it all seem new again, because each time we're focusing on a different aspect of the day. Great work!

Clark said...

The "6-7" meter simply means each verse has six lines with seven syllables each.

Back in the day, lyrics were somewhat independent of the melody they were sung with. "Burton" and "Hymenial" are the names of the melody the words were to be sung with (The 1985 hymnal has a list of "tune names" in the index. Neither is listed, but can be found on the internet.)

Oh, and I checked my 1948 hymnal, and this song isn't included. I wonder how Bro. Pratt felt about W.W.Phelps getting credit for the song in the 1909 edition...

Anonymous said...

Wow -- who knew a hymn could be so dangerous to sing? [wink]

I had fun reading this post and looking through the old musical settings of the text. Thanks.


BruceCrow said...

Thanks. The fun part is realizing how much I can learn about LDS Church history even staying on one subject.

I'll bet he wasn't happy. I'm sure who ever put it in the 1909 hymal was taking it from the Times and Seasons version which had no author. Since Phelps published it, they decided that Phelps must have written it.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Ardis said...

The 1927 hymnal does include this hymn (No. 177), in six verses, with Phelps credited with the text.

BruceCrow said...

So between the 1927 Hymnal and the 1948 Hymnal it didn't make the cut. I wonder what the guidlines were for making the decision.