Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Now the Day is Over

Here is another hymn for the common times!

Title: Now the Day is Over

Tune: Merrial


Composer: Joseph Barnby (12th August, 1838- 28th January. 1896)

Author: Sabine Baring-Gould ( 18th January, 1834- 2nd January, 1924)

         “Now the Day is Over” was originally written for the children of Horbury Bridge when the author, Sabine Baring-Gould, was serving as the Curate for the parish. With some comparison, the this hymn could have been inspired by J.M. Neale (See “O Come, OCome, Emmanuel”) “The Day is Past and Over.” “Now the Day is Over” was originally published in The Church Times in February of 1867, and was also included in the Appendix for Hymns Ancient and Modern, which was published in 1868 (Westermeyer, 2010, p. 406). Sabine Baring-Gould was the oldest son of Edward Baring-Gould, was born in Exeter, England, and was educated at Clare College, Cambridge (BA, 1854; MA, 1856). S. Baring-Gould was born on a large estate, in which he would later inherit from his father (Westermeyer, p. 37), and spent a good amount of time traveling through Germany and France. In 1864, S. Baring-Gould took holy orders, becoming the Curate of Horbury. S. Baring-Gould held this position until 1867, when he left Horbury and was preferred to the incumbency of Dalton, Yorks (John Julian, 1907 Dictionary of Hymnology). In 1871, S. Baring-Gould became rector of East Mersea, Essex, and in 1881 he finally settled in as rector of Lew Trenchard, Devon, the Estate which inherited. S. Baring-Gould has numerous works, some of which include hymns for children, Lives of the Saints (15 vols. 1872-1877), and The People's Hymnal (1867). S. Baring-Gould did eventually marry a woman outside of his aristocracy, a mill hand named Grace Taylor (Westermeyer, p. 37). The two had a good marriage, and gave birth to fifteen children.

         The tune “Merrial” has some interesting beginnings to how it was named. This tune is one of the few that was actually written solely for the the text. “Merrial” written in 1868 and made it's first appearance in Joseph Barnby's own publication Tunes to Popular Hymns, for Use in Church and Home (1869), where it appeared without a name. Robert McCutchan (a notable Hymnologist) has said that Charles S. Robinson (a composer of hymn tunes) enjoyed this tune so much that he included it in his own publication Spiritual Songs (New York, 1878), and named the tune “EMMALAR” after his daughters initials, “M.L.R.” Eventually, Robinson changed the name of the tune to “Merrial” for his daughters name, “Mary L.” For more information on Joseph Barnby, See “Jesus My Lord, My God, My All.”

The Text:

  1. Now the day is over,
        Night is drawing nigh;
        Shadows of the evening
        Steal across the sky.

 2. Now the darkness gathers,
        Stars begin to peep,
        Birds and beasts and flowers
        Soon will be asleep.

 3. Jesus, give the weary
        Calm and sweet repose;
        With Thy tend'rest blessing
        May mine eyelids close.

 4. Grant to little children
        Visions bright of Thee;
        Guard the sailors tossing
        On the deep-blue sea.

 5. Comfort every sufferer
        Watching late in pain;
        Those who plan some evil
        From their sin restrain.

 6. Through the long night-watches
        May Thine angels spread
        Their white wings above me,
        Watching round my bed.

 7. When the morning wakens,
        Then may I arise
        Pure and fresh and sinless
        In Thy holy eyes.

 8. Glory to the Father,
        Glory to the Son,
        And to Thee, blest Spirit,
        While all ages run.

My Take on the Hymn:
 This hymn is very interesting to me. The text follows a story throughout the whole text, not just in each verse, like we can find in many other hymns. Taken skin deep, this hymn can be seen as a lullaby for children, or even for someone who is saying evening prayers. This hymn is asking for God to help the voice of the text through the night, keeping them safe and allowing them to wake early in the morning to do good works. Now, if we were to delve deeper into the text, because the hymn is found in the “Evening” portion of the hymnal, it could be referring to when times are getting dark. Each and every line in this tune is either asking God to protect us, or it is praising God for the works that he does to protect us. In our darkest times, it is important that we turn to God and ask him for help, and to ask him to send his angels to watch over us when we may not know what is going to come next. Though I do appreciate seeing this text in a deeper sense, when I compare the tune with the text, it seems more like the child-like, lullaby-ish hymn. Most childrens tunes tend to start on the fifth scale degree (for those of you who would rather use solfege, that is “Sol”), and usually bases most of the tune between the fifth scale degree, and the third scale degree (“Sol,” and “Mi”). The tune “Merrial” tends to stay in the higher register of the singer, starting on the fifth (“Sol”) and does not sink bellow it.

The Hymn:

If you cannot read music, just start the Youtube video and follow along!

Julian, John. "Now the Day Is over." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 24 July 2013. 

Julian, John. "S. Baring-Gould." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 24 July 2013.

Unknown. "MERRIAL (Barnby)." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 24 July 2013. 

Unknown. "Joseph Barnby." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 24 July 2013. 

Westermeyer, Paul. "Evening." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 37+. Print. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful hymn! Wonderfully recounted. Thank you so much. I strongly encourage people to listen to this great old hymn sung by Michael Crawford. Thank you again!