STLT#160, Far Too Long, by Fear Divided

It’s non sequitur day here on the Far Fringe – I have several utterly unrelated thoughts, so I’m just going to write them and let you make up the transitions in your head.

I would love to know exactly what English pronunciations were like in previous centuries that allowed ‘sword’ to be rhymed with ‘word’ and ‘remove’ with ‘love’.

Somewhat related, is this particular pronunciation found in a particular dialect in a particular corner of England, one that our lyricist John Andrew Storey hails from? Because while you half expect it from Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Coleridge, and even Keats and Byron, you don’t much see it in 20th century writing.

I know it’s set to a 19th century German tune (Lobb Den Herrn, Die Morgansonne), but I wanted to sing it to Westminister Abbey (by Henry Purcell, most familiarly used in Sing Out Praises for the Journey).

This song should be sung at every UN General Assembly and in every war room and situation room in the world.

I’m not sure I would ever use this hymn unless I was talking about war and peace.

I’m not sure who Storey expects to found the dynasty of love – maybe this is an implicit “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” All I know is that if we’re to cease from warring, we need to start in our congregations’ meeting rooms and let go of the petty, inconsequential fights (see Nancy McDonald Ladd’s sermon at the 2016 General Assembly).

Far too long, by fear divided, we have settled with the sword
quarrels which should be decided by the reconciling word.

Now the nations are united, though as yet in name alone,
and the distant goal is sighted which the prophet souls have shown.

May, at least, we cease from warring, barriers of hate remove,
and, earth’s riches freely sharing, found the dynasty of love.

And… scene. Hope you’re not running late because your devices failed to awaken you for Daylight Saving Time. And if you are, what are you reading for? Get going!

Leave a Reply