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Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...

PTA 20 Dec 01 - 03:01 PM
MMario 20 Dec 01 - 03:06 PM
PTA 20 Dec 01 - 03:14 PM
Joe_F 20 Dec 01 - 05:30 PM
kytrad 20 Dec 01 - 06:31 PM
Sorcha 20 Dec 01 - 06:34 PM
masato sakurai 20 Dec 01 - 06:53 PM
raredance 21 Dec 01 - 06:41 PM
kytrad 22 Dec 01 - 03:49 PM
raredance 22 Dec 01 - 07:29 PM
Burke 15 Dec 04 - 08:18 PM
Burke 15 Dec 04 - 08:27 PM
Burke 15 Dec 04 - 08:32 PM
Burke 15 Dec 04 - 08:52 PM
Joe_F 22 Dec 08 - 10:33 PM
BB 23 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 08 - 02:01 PM
kytrad 23 Dec 08 - 09:57 PM
Haruo 23 Dec 08 - 10:51 PM
Barbara 24 Dec 08 - 12:05 AM
Haruo 24 Dec 08 - 12:22 AM
kytrad 25 Dec 08 - 04:46 PM
Haruo 25 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Dec 08 - 08:12 PM
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Subject: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: PTA
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 03:01 PM

Anyone have the lyrics to the traditional folk hymn "Brightest and Best"?

I heard a sample from Jean Ritchie's website and it reminded me I've been meaning to learn all the lyrics and work out the fingering for it on my mountain dulcimer for the holidays. It's a great one for getting lots of people to try various harmonies.

If no one answers this thread by Christmas Eve, I'll resort to looking for them in my church hymnal.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 03:06 PM

this one?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: PTA
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 03:14 PM

Yes. Those the lyrics. The tunes attached to them were close to the tune that I know and that Jean Ritchie sings on her albumn but are the more stylistic versions from the classical roots.

Thanks so much for your quick reply. I'm off to work on it with my dulcimer right now!

Paula Archer Belmont, MA


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: Joe_F
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 05:30 PM

The version on that Web site (& in _Rise Up Singing_) is missing a stanza that is sung at the beginning by Jean Ritchie:

Hail the blest morn when the great Mediator
Down from the regions of glory descends;
Shepherds, go worship the Babe in the manger,
Lo! for a guard the bright angels attend.

Was that added by another hand?

The Ritchies use the first stanza given as a chorus.

Incidentally, she writes "suns" for "sons" -- probably a mistake, but possibly an improvement. %^)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: kytrad
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 06:31 PM

It came down in our family as, "suns." And it does make sense- as it is the Christmas star (the Morning Star) that is being addressed. I think that the "mistake" was made long ago, and in the opposite direction (someone sang,or printed, "sons" instead of, "suns"). As I pointed out in another thread, last year or so, Lucifer was the one referred to as, "Son of the Morning," so wouldn't it be odd for a composer of sacred songs to write the line so?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 06:34 PM

Welcome to the zoo, Paula! We are only dangerous close to feeding time. oops, considering that it's an international forum............(grin)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 06:53 PM

The Ritchie version with music is in Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians, as sung by Jean Ritchie (Oak, p. 61). The "Hail the best morn" stanza is originally from another hymn, but it matches well here. The source hymn ("Star in the East") is in Southern Harmony (CLICK HERE).
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: raredance
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 06:41 PM

A version in "Early American Christmas Music" by Glenn Wilcox (1995 Mel Bay Publications) contains three more verses than the ones linked to here. I put them below. Anyone know if they are from Heber or some other source? (confession: I had to look up "refulgent")

Low at his feet we in humble prostration
Lose all our sorrow and trouble and strife;
There we receive his divine consolation,
Flowing afresh from the fountain of life.

He is our friend in the midst of temptation,
Faithful supporter whose love cannot fail;
Rock of our refuge, and hope of salvation,
Light to direct us through death's gloomy vale.

Star of the morning, they brightness, declining,
Shortly must fade when the sun doth arise:
Beaming refulgent, his glory eternal
Shines on the children of love in the skies.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: kytrad
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:49 PM

Completely strange verses, rich r- maybe someone wrote them for the Mel Bay version, in the interests of copyright? What melody is used with these verses?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: raredance
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 07:29 PM

The Wilcox book includes two melodies. One he credits to the "Southern Harmony". The other he describes as one of a family of "Star" (i.e Star in the East - rr) tunes and says one of the earliest printings is in the 1833 "Christian Lyre" by Joshua Leavitt. The second tune is clearly similar to but not identical to the one you have in "Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians". All eight quatrains are printed with both melodies.

By the way in the first line of the last stanza I posted above it should be "thy" and not "they".

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best Lyrics?
From: Burke
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 08:18 PM

I've been looking at Reginald Heber hymns & have become facinated by the additional verses rich r posted for Brightest and Best.

The Southern Harmony does have the additional 3 verses with The Shepherd's Star. That particular setting is not the usual "Star in the East" tune that most use from the Southern harmony. Both use the anonymous "Hail the blest morn" for the first verse. Star in the East uses "Brightest and Best" as the chorus while Shepherd's Star completely omits Heber's first verse.

These verses are not in Heber's collection that was published in 1827, the year after he died. I've been coming across a date of 1811 for the words & it may be that he did include them in some earlier version of the words.

There's some additional discussion in This thread, but I don't see where any of the full versions have been posted.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Brightest and Best of the Sons
From: Burke
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 08:27 PM

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning!
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid!
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid!

Cold on his cradle the dew-drops are shining,
Low lies his head with the beasts of the stall,
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Savior of all!

Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
Odours of Edom and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation;
Vainly with gifts would His favour secure;
Richer by far is the heart's adoration;
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning!
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid!
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid!

"Epiphany.--No. II. R.H." in Hymns, written and adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year / by the Right Rev. Reginald Heber. London: John Murray, 1827.. p. 25-26.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Star in the East (Southern Harmony)
From: Burke
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 08:32 PM

Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,
Down from the regions of glory descend!
Shepherds, go worship the babe in the manger,
Lo, for his guard the bright angels attend.

Refrain:

   Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
   Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
   Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
   Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies his bed with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore him, in slumbers reclining,
Wise men and shepherds before him do fall.

Refrain

Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Eden and offerings divine?
Gems from the mountain, and pearls from the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

Refrain

Vainly we offer each ample oblation;
Vainly with gold we his favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart's adoration;
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Refrain

Source: Southern Harmony, p. 16. Arranged by William Walker.

@Christmas


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Shepherd's Star
From: Burke
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 08:52 PM

1. Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,
   Down from the regions of glory descend!
   Shepherds, go worship the babe in the manger,
   Lo, for his guard the bright angels attend.

2. Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining;
   Low lies his bed with the beasts of the stall;
   Angels adore him, in slumbers reclining,
   Wise men and shepherds before him do fall.

3. Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
   Odors of Eden and offerings divine?
   Gems from the mountain, and pearls from the ocean,
   Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

4. Vainly we offer each ample oblation;
   Vainly with gold we his favor secure;
   Richer by far is the heart's adoration;
   Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

5. Low at his feet we in humble prostration,
   Lose all our sorrow and trouble and strife;
   There we receive his divine consolation,
   Flowing afresh from the fountain of life.

6. He is our friend in the midst of temptation,
   Faithful supporter, whose love cannot fail;
   Rock of our refuge, and hope of salvation,
   Light to direct us through death's gloomy vale.

7. Star of the morning, thy brightness, declining,
   Shortly must fade when the sun doth arise:
   Beaming refulgent, his glory eternal
   Shines on the children of love in the skies.

William Walker's Southern Harmony


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 10:33 PM

Reginald Heber wrote this song in 1811. He definitely wrote "sons of the morning", not "suns", tho the change is surely natural in context
("Dawn on our darkness"). One source, http://nottinghamchurches.org/hymns/brightest.html, says that the phrase alludes to Isaiah 14:12. If so, the puzzle thickens, for that verse refers to Lucifer, a *fallen* angel commonly identified with Satan. In any case, the stanza is clearly about the Star of Bethlehem, and AFAIK there is no warrant for identifying that with an angel, fallen or not.

"Suns of the morning" seems plausible to us in that in modern astronomy the sun counts as a star, so that "suns" is available as a poetic word for "stars". Whether that would also come natural to a clergyman two centuries ago is an amusing question, on which the OED, remarkably, casts no light; offhand I would guess not.

Merry Christmas, anyway. %^)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: BB
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM

This was the first carol to be chosen at our pub's annual Midwinter Carol night this year. Really great one to sing!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 02:01 PM

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (Isaiah 14:12, King James version).

The puzzle is easy enough to disentangle. Lucifer is a fallen angel, and "sons of the morning" here means the band of angels whose role in the Christmas story is to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds:

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: kytrad
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 09:57 PM

But, McGrath- ALL the verbs in that verse (or chorus) are addressed to the Star, who is described in the salutory first line: Brightest and best of the suns of the morning. In the following lines, this star (sun) is bidden to DAWN on our darkness; and in the last line to GUIDE. The whole song is addressed to this Star, or Sun of the morning. It's so clear- who could mistake its meaning? I can just imagine someone, in 1811, hearing or singing or seeing the written song for the first time (the proofreader, maybe?) and assuming that "sun" was a mistake, and so it must be "son." And that's what I'm believing, children!

All of you have a Merry Christmas, a Mysterious Twelfthnight,a wondrous Chanikuh, a Happy________________?(fill this in)
and may 2009 be your the Best New Year Yet!   Love to all, Jean


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 10:51 PM

I think the Star addressed is Jesus himself, folks. The Oriens, the O of "ERO CRAS" in the Great "O" Antiphons, source of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Protestants have lost most of that line of imagery, though Wesley keeps it in his reference to Jesus as "Sun of Righteousness, risen with healing in his wings".

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: Barbara
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 12:05 AM

Dunno about others' versions, but I've sung this as a Shape Note for years. That's what Southern Harmony is, a shape note hymn book.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: Haruo
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 12:22 AM

The Quaker hymnal Worship in Song (1996) contains a roundnote version of the Star in/of the East setting, beginning with the "Hail the blest morn" verse.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: kytrad
Date: 25 Dec 08 - 04:46 PM

"Star IN the east I believe to be correct. Not OF the east.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: Haruo
Date: 25 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM

Insofar as "correct" has meaning in the context of tune name conventions, I think you're right, Jean.

Incidentally (and off topic) do you have a list of your contributions to Worship in Song: A Friends' Hymnal? I've noticed (but not noted, alas) discrepancies between the index and the notes at the songs themselves. As a hymnologist and a hymnal editor, such discrepancies tend to give me pause, if not sleepless nights. I'm so glad they included your Garden hymn ("Now Is the Cool of the Day").

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brightest and Best of the Sons of the ...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Dec 08 - 08:12 PM

My point was that if it was "sons of the morning" that Reginald Heber wrote, there's really no problem about Lucifer having been described in that way in that translation of Isaiah 14:12, since in that quote it essentially means "angel".


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