Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'

GUEST,leeneia 18 Nov 08 - 03:46 PM
Jim Dixon 19 Nov 08 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Nov 08 - 09:26 AM
VirginiaTam 20 Nov 08 - 01:01 PM
Mysha 20 Nov 08 - 01:41 PM
Joe Offer 20 Nov 08 - 03:09 PM
Joe Offer 20 Nov 08 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Nov 08 - 05:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Nov 08 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Nov 08 - 06:23 PM
Mysha 26 Nov 08 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Hans 28 Jan 09 - 10:17 AM
oldhippie 28 Jan 09 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM
Bat Goddess 29 Jan 09 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,mg 29 Jan 09 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,mg 29 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 10 - 11:34 AM
GUEST 16 Sep 10 - 11:52 AM
Kent Davis 17 Sep 10 - 12:00 AM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 10 - 01:56 AM
clueless don 17 Sep 10 - 09:33 AM
Joe_F 17 Sep 10 - 06:40 PM
Kent Davis 17 Sep 10 - 08:11 PM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 10 - 08:45 PM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 10 - 09:01 PM
Kent Davis 17 Sep 10 - 09:56 PM
catspaw49 17 Sep 10 - 11:32 PM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 10 - 11:46 PM
catspaw49 18 Sep 10 - 12:28 AM
Joe Offer 18 Sep 10 - 03:58 AM
Joe Offer 18 Sep 10 - 04:06 PM
Joe_F 18 Sep 10 - 05:56 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 03:46 PM

Over Lutheran coffee last Sunday, our leader said, 'I wonder why "We Gather Together" isn't in any hymnals.'

'We can do it,' I said, 'I'll make copies.'

I first heard 'We Gather Together' at a very young age, in school. Today I have the tune & chords in my book of piano music. It always seems like such a tranquil, graceful tune. When I play it, I picture a Dutch shore with distant seabirds over the water.

Well! I went to the Cyberhymnal and saw that the usual words are of the 'church militant' type and are supposedly in celebration of a battle. I have a interest in that type of music, so I modified the verses to sound more Christian and more thankful, so as to fit in better during the weeks before Thanksgiving.

We have some Chinese members, so another thing I did was eliminate words with 'th' in them when they weren't strictly necessary. Life is hard enough for them without th's. Another thing I like to do is eliminate capital letters. I find that extraneous capital letters (such as at the beginning of a line of poetry which is not the beginning of a sentence) make text harder to read.

1.We ga-ther to-ge-ther to ask the Lord's bles-sing;
He ha-stens and cha-stens his will to make known.
Grief and woe pres-sing, he cea-ses their dis-tres-sing.
Sing prai-ses to his name; he for-gets not his own.

2.Be-side us to guide us, our God with us join-ing,
Or-dain-ing, main-tain-ing his king-dom di-vine;
So from the be-ginn-ing his mer-cy we were win-ning;
O, Lord, be ev-er near, our thanks be thine!

3.We all do ex-tol Thee, O Sa-vior and Tea-cher,
and pray that thou still our Re-deem-er will be.
Let thy con-gre-gat-ion join Hea-ven's ju-bi-la-tion.
Thy name we hon-or here; O Lord, praise to thee!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 05:34 PM

Since you've put some thought into formatting, I hope you don't mind if I give you my thoughts on the matter!

The only thing I don't like about your example is the hyphenation. If anyone uses a search engine (including Mudcat's own search function) to search for (for example) the phrase "ask the Lord's blessing", they won't find your text because of that hyphen in "bles-sing".

They can find "We Gather Together" only because you mentioned the title several times apart from the lyrics.

However, anyone with lots of experience searching for lyrics usually doesn't search for a song by its title. Searching for the title typically turns up lots of sites that merely mention the song without giving lyrics. It's usually more fruitful to search for a phrase that is not in the title, such as "ask the Lord's blessing".

I certainly endorse the principle of changing, rather than discarding, an otherwise good song because you object to something in the lyrics.

By the way, the original (I assume) text of WE GATHER TOGETHER can be found in this old thread:

Help: Need Thanksgiving songs


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 09:26 AM

That's a good point, Jim.

The hyphens came in because I copied the lyrics right off my version of the song. Keeping the hyphens would save work for anybody who would like a peaceful version for this fall.

The CyberHymnal says that their English words are a 19th C translation of the 16thC Dutch, but it's hard to say. To tell you the truth, they sound suspiciously Victorian to me.

Anyhow, this is a good song to sing while working in the kitchen in the autumn, perhaps while cutting up acorn squash or other symbols of the harvest. You don't have to be a church leader to enjoy it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 01:01 PM

I wonder if it was in the old southern baptist hymnal. I remember singing it at school and in sunday school but not in proper church service.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Mysha
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 01:41 PM

Hi,

We Gather Together is probably in a hymnal somewhere, as that's usually how hymns get popular. It is indeed a pity that these new English lyrics are so hard to read due to all those hyphens. On the other hand, that means I have little reason not to include the also rather hard to read original, I presume, Dutch lyrics:


Wilt heden nu treden voor God, den Heere,
Hem boven al loven van harte zeer,
En maken groot zijns lieven namens eere,
Die daar nu onzen vijand slaat terneer.

Ter eeren ons Heeren wilt al uw dagen
Dit wonder bijzonder gedenken toch.
Maakt u, o mensch, voor God steeds wel te dragen,
Doet ieder recht en wacht u voor bedrog!

Bidt, waket en maket, dat g'in bekoring
En 't kwade met schade toch niet en valt.
Uw vroomheid brengt den vijand tot verstoring,
Al waar' zijn rijk nog eens zoo sterk bewald!


However, I hasten to include this translation, which, if slightly inaccurate for the sake of the melody, is closer to the Dutch than the translation mentioned above.

Let us now come forward for God, our Lord
Praise him above all, with all of our heart
And exult everywhere the honour of his name,
Who there now beats down our enemy.

For the honour of our Lord, in all your days
Commemorate especially this miracle
For God, oh human, make you well behaved,
Do justice to all, and heed treachery!

Pray, wake and make, that to temptation
And evil with downfall, you will not yield.
Your piety will disturb the enemy,
However strong the walls of his realm might be!


Then again, this one doesn't rhyme, while the 19th century rewrite does. Still, I find the stress on "We" in the English rather disturbing. Sure, Valerius has a reference to the battle in our own fight for freedom from Spain, but he's a good-enough poet to allow the interpretation of the eternal enemy, rather than a temporal one.

Anyone up to adding abab rhyme to this, like the Dutch version has it?

                                                                Mysha


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 03:09 PM

For the sake of comparison, here are the lyrics from The Hymnal 1940, published by the Church Pension Fund, New York (Protestant Episcopal Church).

WE GATHER TOGETHER
(lyrics Anonymous, 1625; translated by Theodore Baker, 1917)
Tune: KREMSER

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!*

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!



*The Catholic Breaking Bread Hymnal (OCP Publications) has this as the second verse:
    Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
    Whose kingdom calls all to the love which endures.
    So from the beginning the fight we were winning:
    You Lord, were at our side, all glory be yours!

The Hymnal 1940 Companion provides the Dutch lyrics posted above, and says this hymn was written by an unknown author in celebration of Dutch freedom from Spanish sovereignty at the end of the 16th century. It was first published in the 1626 edition of Adrian Valerius' Neder-landisch Gedenckclanck. At the end of the 19th century, it was popularized through the edition by Edward Kremser of Sechs Altniederlädische Volkslieder, a German collection of six Netherlands songs, all taken from the Valerius collection. The German translation, by Carl Bieber, began: "Wir treten zum Beten vor Gott den Gerechten."
The English translation, by Theodore Baker, first appeared in Dutch Folk-songs, by Coenraad V. Bos (1917).
The tune was originally sung to a folk song, the text of which begins: "Ey wilder dan wilt." It derives the name Kremser from the eiditor named above (but apparently is much older than the 19th-century Kremser collection).

The Cyberhymnal entry says the hymn was written in 1597 to celebrate a Dutch victory, which sounds a whole lot more bellicose than the The Hymnal 1940 Companion contention that the hymn was written in celebration of Dutch freedom from Spanish sovereignty at the end of the 16th century - I guess that would mean the end of the Spanish Habsburg rule over Holland, right? The Cyberhymnal entry says the song was arranged & trans­lat­ed from Dutch to La­tin by Ed­uard Krem­ser in Sechs Al­tnie­der­länd­ische Volks­lied­er (Leip­zig, Ger­many: 1877). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by The­o­dore Bak­er, 1894.



Here are the German lyrics:

Wir treten zum Beten vor Gott den Gerechten.
Er waltet und haltet ein strenges Gericht.
Er läßt von den Schlechten die Guten nicht knechten;
Sein Name sei gelobt - er vergißt unser nicht.
Herr, laß uns nicht !

Erhöre, gewähre, O Herr, unser Flehen,
Du bist es, der Beistand und Hilfe uns schafft;
Denn Dein ist auf Erden und Dein ist in Höhen,
Die Herrlichkeit und Ehre, das Reich und die Kraft.
Herr, laß uns nicht !

Im Streite zur Seite ist Gott uns gestanden,
Er wollte, es sollte das Recht siegreich sein:
Da ward kaum begonnen, die Schlacht schon gewonnen.
Du, Gott, warst ja mit uns: Der Sieg, er war Dein!
Herr, laß uns nicht !

Wir loben Dich oben, Du Herscher der Welten,
Und singen und klingen dem König im Licht.
Du wirst uns erhören! Singt, singt in hellen Chören:
Der Herr ist unser Helfer, Er verlässet uns nicht !
Du Herr bist treu! 

Text: Adrianus Valerius als Dankgebet für die niederländischen Siege, 1597 - Übersetzung von Joseph Weyl , 1877
Musik: Altniederländische Volksweise

u.a. in -- Es braust ein Ruf -- Kriegsliederbuch für das Deutsche Heer (1914) -- Stolz ziehn wir in die Schlacht (1915) - Liederbuch des Thüringerwald-Vereins (1927) -- Schlesier-Liederbuch (1936)
Source: volksliederarchiv.de
Also available at robokopp
And in four languages at ingeb.org

Here's the Latin from ingeb.org:

1. Oramus, vocamus
Iustissimum Deum,
Qui munit et punit
Severe reos
Nec sinit peiores
Domare meliores;
Sit semper Deo laus,
Qui respicit nos!


3. Proeliatus ad latus
Adiuvit nos Deus;
Agebat, volebat,
Ut vinceret ius.
Vix sumus aggressi,
Sunt hostes oppressi;
Est, quod adiusti nos,
Triumphus Tuus.


4. Lauderis, canteris,
Qui proelia regis!
Oramus, optamus,
Ut adiuves nos,
Ne, fidos quos nosti,
Subiecti sint hosti!
Sit semper Tibi laus!
Fac nos liberos!


I don't usually like hymns that make references to the Lord fighting battles for the singers, but I don't really mind it in this hymn because the references aren't egregiously strong. I guess I have an aversion to changing or sanitizing traditional hymns. If I don't like 'em, I leaves 'em alone and don't use 'em for worship - but I don't change 'em.

Oh - these German postcards certainly make a military application of this hymn. I wonder if the hymn is still common in German churches. One other thing - is that a French tricolor flag in this postcard (click), or what???? The same flag appears in at least two postcards.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version 'We Gather Together' (Unitarian)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 05:27 PM

The Unitarians are always messing with traditional hymns, and their treatment of "We Gather Together" is no exception. I kinda like this one, however.
-Joe-



WE GATHER TOGETHER
(Words by Dorothy Caiger Senghas and Robert E. Senghas, 1992)

We gather together in joyful thanksgiving,
Acclaiming creation, whose bounty we share;
Both sorrow and gladness we find now in our living,
We sing a hymn of praise to the life that we bear.

We gather together to join in the journey,
Confirming, committing our passage to be
A true affirmation, in joy and tribulation,
When bound to human care and hopes, then we are free.

source: Singing the Living Tradition, ©1993, The Unitarian Universalist Association


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 05:28 PM

I don't suppose we will ever know, but I doubt whether the earliest-known words, those quoted above in Dutch, are the first words.

The tune is just too beautiful and tranquil to have been composed as a self-congratulatory song about winning a battle, especially if the composer had had real knowledge of the anguish, cruelty, blood and guts of a battle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 06:15 PM

"We Gather Together" has a complicated story , starting as a Dutch folk song, "Ey,wilder dan wilt, wie sal my temmen?"
It also has had more than one melody.

The website below traces its history, from a folk song (two melodies), 24 verses, through several revisions to its appearance in Valerius.
My Dutch in non-existant, but those who are interested may read the story, in some detail, with scores, here:
Florimond van Duyse

I haven't looked for a translation of the folk song; it would be interesting to see it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 06:23 PM

Hello, Mysha. Thanks for the Dutch words and the translation. That's interesting. I see that the original has many internal rhymes. Some of that has carried over into English versions, such as

hastens and chastens
beside us to guide us

Sorry about the hyphens. I assumed that anybody with any interest in the song would copy the lyrics into a MIDI version, in which case the hyphens would be very handy.

Since posting, I've remembered another verse to this tune which I learned somewhere, years ago:

We pray to our Father when night is descending.
When morning is breaking, we sing to his praise.
With wisdom and love and kindness never-ending,
He guides us and protects us and guards all our ways.

I believe that's all there was to it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Mysha
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 11:38 AM

Hi,

Leeneia, I probably overreacted, but I was a bit shocked to see how easily text can be changed back to loose characters. Yes, in each verse, each of the first two lines has internal rhyme. The song, however, was not written to the tune it has now, that We Gather Together is sung too as well. I don't know the origin of the current tune - I have to leave that to the others to add - but you could be right that that tune has a more tranquil origin. You should not, however, read the Dutch words as self-congratulatory. Our culture of that time was quite "Nothing, but through Gods might", and that's the message here as well: There's a reason to celebrate, but remember it's not the doing of man.

I see I made an unintended error in the translation: "bedrog" is not just treachery, but deceit in general. ("Heed all deceit" should fit.)

Q, thanks for finding that. I knew there was an earlier song to the original melody, but I didn't know its lyrics. It's a bit long to take a go at translating it in between work and running errands, but the singer is apparently a man, who has always lived free, but now love has brought him trouble. He then continues for several verses about all that makes him love her so, and it takes quite a while before we learn that his trouble is not love's sweet sorrow. Rather it's the fact that he is the gaol, to be hanged. We don't know the reason why, but it's his love who put him there.

Joe, if you dislike changes to hymns, does that mean you don't consider them part of the folk tradition? And if that's true, do you know why?
Considering the choice you gave us, I'll have to go for "what???". It's the flag of the German Empire, the second Reich if you will, around 1900. You'll note that the colours, black, white, and red, were still popular a generation later, in the third Reich. Flags of the World have a page on this flag.

Yes, that would be Habsburg rule, I guess, but in the Netherlands it's more common to use nationalities: The Netherlands fought Spain. "Holland" in this context is definitely wrong, though, as Holland was only one of the Seven United Netherlands. Still, regarding the occasion, I'd say the Battle of Turnhout - 1000 Dutch defeat 5000 Spanish - is much more of a miracle than Spain after eighty years giving up on a province somewhere on the other side of France. So I expect that the text attributing it to the battle is correct, with the other one being a generalisation of sorts.

Having thought it over, I think the Dutch used to be longer. I'll see whether I can find a better source somewhere.

OK, going into town again to run some errants.
                                                                Mysha


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,Hans
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 10:17 AM

All references to "battle" in this hymn refer to SPIRITUAL battles against the Devil, real or symbolic. Good grief, how incredibly "PC" can people be? Christ suffered on the cross. Shall we remove all mention of that from books and sermons, lest we frighten the children? Leave this beautiful hymn "as is"!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: Here We Have Gathered (Alicia S. Carpenter)
From: oldhippie
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 06:06 PM

Leeneia originally wrote in part...
"I modified the verses to sound more Christian and more thankful"

Since I'm a UU, I would have made it less Christian, but keeping the thankfulness. Or, just sung "Here We Have gathered" instead.

HERE WE HAVE GATHERED
(Alicia S. Carpenter 1979)

Here we have gathered, gathered side by side
circle of kinship, come and step inside
May all who seek here find a kindly word
may all who speak here feel they have been heard
Sing now together this, our hearts' own song

Here we have gathered, called to celebrate
days of our lifetime, matters small and great
we of all ages, women children men
infants and sages sharing what we can
Sing now together this, our hearts' own song

Life has its battles, sorrows and regrets
but in the shadows let us not forget
we who now gather know each others pain
kindness can heal us as we give we gain
Sing now in friendship this, our hearts own song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM

'All references to "battle" in this hymn refer to SPIRITUAL battles against the Devil, real or symbolic.'


If you really believe that, I have a bridge I could sell you...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 01:21 PM

Hmmm, I was just going to say it IS a hymn and it was in my circa 1963 Lutheran (Missouri Synod) hymnal. But I just pulled the hymnal off the shelf -- and it's not there under anything I could find it by. Checked index of first lines, checked the "Harvest and Thanksgiving" section (which is where I sort of remember it).

I seem to remember, though, these words --

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing
In grateful devotion our anthem we raise

Can't seem to get further than that. DEFINITELY remember singing it in church during the '6os. Or at school -- I went to Milwaukee Lutheran High School (Missouri Synod) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Gotta ask my brother or sister-in-law -- both ministers (ELCA).

Right now gotta run off to work.

Linn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 01:32 PM

I don't think any of the lyrics come anywhere close to the standard one about asking for protection from the enemy. They don't ask for harm to come to the enemy..that they be smoted etc...just that they are ceased from distressing.

There is nothing I can think of that warrants a hymn or a prayer more than asking to escape tribulation of the sort they were singing about and undoubtedly was sung in various languages in WWII etc. And we don't have many songs that get quite so specific and of course they day might come when we wished we knew some.   mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM

Oh dear...please to compare these words...

Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Sing now in friendship this, our hearts own song.

When bound to human care and hopes, then we are free.

However strong the walls of his realm might be!

Now, granted people have different tastes...but isn't the first one (again, I know it is all relative) absolutely powerful, and have the right rhythm, which it seems to me the others don't have, at least I can't fit them to the tune..except sort of the third one. mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 11:34 AM

we pray to our father for all thou has taught us
for food and for blessing for comfort and love
Oh keep in our hearts the lessons thou has taught
on earth to do thy will as in heaven above.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 11:52 AM

Norman Johnson try45@ameritech.net
I provided the verse above on 16 sep 10!!
It was taught to me in grammer school in the 1950's or so.
I don't know what the title of the song was at that time. We sang it
mostly around the Thansgiving holiday!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Kent Davis
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 12:00 AM

From 20 Nov 08, 5:28 p.m., "The tune is just too beautiful and tranquil to have been composed as a self-congratulatory song about winning a battle, especially if the composer had had real knowledge of the anguish, cruelty, blood and guts of a battle."

So true. And that tune has never, as far as I know, been used for a "self-congratulatory song about winning a battle". It is usually used for a song that instead explicitly rejects self-congratulations, stating rather that ALL congratulations are to be given, not to oneself, but to GOD:
"Thou, Lord, were at our side, ALL glory be THINE!"

The battle is the spiritual battle against Satan. This is shown by the statement that God was "maintaining His kingdom DIVINE".

That is also why the prayer is not for God's protection of the nation, or of the regiment, but for the CONGREGATION:
"pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation..."

Kent


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 01:56 AM

Mysha asks (in 2008): Joe, if you dislike changes to hymns, does that mean you don't consider them part of the folk tradition? And if that's true, do you know why?

For the most part, hymns have been composed by known composers and have an original form that is known. That removes them from most definitions of "folk" and "traditional music" (but, of course, there are "traditional hymns"). So, no, I generally do not think that hymns fit into the folk tradition.

And when somebody does an intentional rewrite of a hymn or a song, it's a rewrite - it's not the "folk process," which is a much more natural process that takes a much longer time.

When a hymn is published and then sung by congregations for a generation or so, it takes on a life of its own. It has been a part of the prayer of communities for a long time, and people have taken it into their hearts and made it part of themselves. To change a treasured hymn is jarring and disturbing, and I think it is something that should be done with trepidation. I won't say categorically that it should never be done, but I think it must be done with great care. And don't try to take the "wretch" out of "Amazing Grace" - the original form of the hymn is just too well known.

All that being said, I do like leeneia's rewrite. I also have to say that I highly dislike military images and language in religious practice, and I do my best to avoid it whenever it's my job to choose music for worship. But I think that even though a hymn has been rewritten to remove military concepts, the old language remains in the minds of the congregation and serves to reinforce militaristic thinking in spite of the rewriter's best efforts. I'd rather see theologically outdated hymns retired with dignity, rather than see them hackneyed into political correctness.

On the first Sunday of Advent in 2011, the Catholic Church will introduce/impose a new English translation of the prayers used at Mass. I thought the old prayers were quite good, but they were a concept-for-concept translation instead of a word-for-word translation of the Latin original. The new translation isn't bad, but it's not really the language that English-speaking people speak. Many American bishops fought hard against it, but Rome won. It will be interesting to see how it's accepted. I predict that people will find it a bit jarring. At least, the Powers That Be didn't try to change the language of the Lord's Prayer. They weren't THAT dumb.





I don't know my history well enough to know what the situation was in the Netherlands in the 16th Century, but one could argue that at least until the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Spain was the most powerful country in the world. The seven northern provinces of the Netherlands declared independence from Spain in 1581, but the Habsburg king of Spain did not acknowledge Dutch independence until 1648. The ten southern provinces eventually became Belgium, Luxembourg, and part of Germany and France.

THEREFORE, it would seem appropriate for the Protestant Dutch to write a hymn of thanksgiving for winning a battle in their quest for independence from Catholic Spain. After all, thanking the Almighty for smiting one's enemies is a tradition that goes back to the Psalms. The current understanding of the hymn may be victory over Satan and sin, but I'll go with the several hymnal companions that say that the hymn was written to celebrate the liberation of the Netherlands from Spain.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: clueless don
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 09:33 AM

I have heard this hymn all my life, usually sung around American (USA) Thanksgiving. I believe I remember singing it in school, and I probably heard it sung in church at least once. I can't catalog all of the different sets of lyrics I may have heard or sung over the decades, but I am quite sure I remember hearing/singing the phrase "our leader in battle" on at least some occasions. I note that none of the versions quoted in this thread, nor in the "Help: Need Thanksgiving songs" thread linked by Jim Dixon on 19 Nov 08 - 05:34 PM, include that phrase. Puzzling.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:40 PM

Joe Offer: The Hymnal 1940 version agrees almost with the version I learned in elementary school, except that, weirdly, the verb forms have been modernized without abandoning "Thou". Surely it has to be, as I remember it, "Thou, Lord, wast at our side" and "And pray that Thou still our defender wilt be".

Oh, and I learned "Our leader in battle" instead of "Our Leader triumphant". If "battle" sounded too combative, the reviser should have done something about "fight" as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Kent Davis
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 08:11 PM

Thanks, Joe Offer, for your comments. I realize now that my comments of 12:00 AM were unclear in a critical area. I was writing of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE song "We Gather Together". I did not make that clear at all and I apologize for that. "We Gather Together" appears to be a very loose translation of the Dutch original. (I do not know any Dutch, and my conclusion that the translation is loose is based on the great differences between the translation posted by Mysha on 20 Nov 08, and the usual English words.)

What I SHOULD have written, with clarifications capitalized is:

"that tune has never, as far as I know, been used (IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE HYMNODY) for a "self-congratulatory song about winning a battle". REGARDLESS OF HOW IT MAY HAVE BEEN USED IN THE NETHERLANDS, IN THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD, it is usually used for a song that instead explicitly rejects self-congratulations, stating rather that all congratulations are to be given, not to oneself, but to GOD: "Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be thine!"

SIMILARLY, AS THE SONG IS USUALLY SUNG IN THE U.S., the battle is the spiritual battle against Satan. This is shown by the statement that God was "maintaining His kingdom divine".

That is also why the prayer is not for God's protection of the nation, or of the regiment, but for the CONGREGATION: "pray that Thou still our Defender will be. Let Thy congregation escape tribulation..."

I hope this is clearer and more accurate.

Kent


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version: 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 08:45 PM

hymnary.org has this text, from the 1991 Baptist Hymnal:

636. WE GATHER TOGETHER
(anonymous Dutch Hymn, 16th Centruy; translator: Theodore Baker)

1. We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing,
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to His name, He forgets not his own.

2. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joinging,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning,
Thou, Lord, wast at our side: the glory be Thine!

3. We all do extol Thee, Thou leader in battle,
And pray that Thou still our defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised: O Lord, make us free!


This one does have "leader in battle." I think the Baptists are a little less sensitive about military spirituality, than the Episcopalians are.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 09:01 PM

You'll find a "hymn study" discussion of the song at homeschoolblogger.com
Here's part:

         INTRO.: A hymn which asks God to be for us and praises Him for His help is "We Gather Together." The text, written to celebrate Dutch independence from Spain in the late 16th century, and the tune (Kremser or Netherlands) were both first printed anonymously in the Nederlandtsch Gedenckclank compiled by Adrianus Valerius (c. 1575-1625; some sources give the date of his death as 1620). The work was published at Harlem, the Netherlands, posthumously in 1626, and it is thought that the song dates from around 1625. Sometimes Valerius is identified as the author and/or composer, but most sources now consider the song an anonymous Dutch folk hymn and folk tune. The translation of the text was made by Theodore Baker who was born at New York City, NY, on June 3, 1851. Although he originally prepared for a business career, he turned his interest to music. After his musical training in Germany, where he received his doctoral degree at the University of Leipzig in 1881, he studied the music of the Seneca Indians of North America. From 1892 to 1926 he was a literary editor with G. Shirmer, Inc.

         While with Schirmer Baker translated this Dutch hymn as "We Gather Together" in 1894, for an anthem setting entitled "Prayer of Thanksgiving," and it was first published in the 1917 Dutch Folksongs compiled by Coenraad V. Bos. It has been quite popular. In 1900 Baker, who was active in the promotion of American music and composers, compiled his most famous work, the Biographical Dictionary of Music and Musicians, which is still in print.  In 1927 Baker made an English libretto version of the French cantata Les Sept Paroles du Christ or The Seven Last Words of Christ written and composed by Theodore Dubois (1837-1924). Several of our books have a song, "Christ, We Do All Adore Thee," taken from this. After his retirement in 1927, Baker returned to Germany, and his death occurred at Dresden, Germany, on October 13, 1934. The arrangement of the tune was made by Edward Kremser (1838-1914). It was published at Vienna, Austria, in his 1877 Sechs Altniederlandische Volkslieder. Its first publication in America was in 1894 by Wm. Rohlfing and Sons of Milwaukee.

         Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, most include alterations to the original translation made by Elmer Leon Jorgenson (1886-1968). They were made around 1944 when the song was added to the front flyleaf in his 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2; it then appeared in the 1975 Supplement.  It was also used in the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 edited by Reuel Lemmons; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. A two-stanza arrangement was made in the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 by editor L. O. Sanderson. Today the song may be found in the 1977 Special Sacred Selections (with an arrangement copyright 1963 by M. Lynwood Smith) edited by Ellis J. Crum; the 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand.

         In 1902, the popularity of this song apparently prompted J. Archer Gibson, music director of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, NY, to desire another text for the tune. He asked Julia Bulkley Cady (1882-1963; she later married Robert Haskell Cory in 1911). After struggling for two weeks, Julia, who was not long out of school, produced three stanzas.

      1. "We praise Thee, O God, Our Redeemer, Creator,
      In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
      We lay it before Thee, we kneel and adore Thee,
      We bless Thy holy name, glad praises we sing."

      2. "We worship Thee, God of our Fathers, we bless Thee;
      Through life’s storm and tempest our guide hast Thou been.
      When perils o’er-take us, Thou wilt not forsake us,
      And with Thy help, O Lord, life’s battle’s we win."

      3. "With voices united our praises we offer,
      And gladly our songs of true worship we raise.
      Thy strong arm will guide us, our God is beside us,
      To Thee, our great Redeemer, forever be praise."

    The song was first sung that year on Thanksgiving Day at the Brick Presbyterian Church. A month later, the author’s father, J. Cleveland Cady, wished to use this hymn for a service on Dec. 25 at the Church of the Covenant, also in New York City, so Miss Cady added a fourth stanza.
      4. "Thy love Thou didst show us, Thine only Son sending,
      Who came as a babe and whose bed was a stall,
      His blest life He gave us and then died to save us;
      We praise Thee, O Lord, for Thy gift to us all."
    William J. Reynolds notes that while this hymn was written as a substitute for "We Gather Together" it is not another translation or version of the original. "We Praise Thee, O God," with the first three stanzas only, is found in the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand. It was used in the original edition of Shepard and Stevens’ Hymns for Worship but omitted from the revised edition.


volokh.com has quite a discussion, including these lyrics from the Saturday Night Live television program, sung by Sarah McLachlan:

    Sarah McLachlan: Well, we were discussing the ritual torture and senseless slaughters of turkeys in the name of the gluttonous, nationalistic, patriarchal holiday that we call Thanksgiving.

    Cinder Calhoun: [ increasingly emotional ] Right, and the sickest thing that Fiona told us is, apparently, that one company has a 1-800 number that gives out cooking tips and recipes encouraging the mutilation and consumption of these beautiful birds! [ gasps ]

    Sarah McLachlan: [ comforting Cinder ] Will you be okay?

    Cinder Calhoun: Yeah. So um, we wrote a song about it, um, for all the turkeys out there who celebrate Thanksgiving. [ Sarah and Cinder are handed acoustic guitars ] It's called "Basted in Blood." ...

    Cinder & Sarah: [ playing guitars, singing ]
    "We gather together for yams, beans, and cranberry sauce.
    But have you given much thought lately to the Turkey Holocaust?
    Twenty million noble birds slaughtered every fall.
    Ain't no difference between Hitler, Stalin -- and the folks at Butterball!
    Butterba-a-a-a-ll!!

    [ Briefly cut wide to reveal Norm glancing around skeptically. ]

    Cinder & Sarah: [ playing guitars, singing ]
    So set your tables, America, from Birmingham to Branson.
    But when you carve that turkey you're a finger-licking Charlie Manson.
    Enjoy your pumpkin pie, your buttery Idaho spud.
    Grandma's chestnut stuffing, and a turkey basted in blood...

    Basted in blood! Basted in blood!
    Basted in blood! Basted in blood!
    Basted in blood! Basted in blood!
    Basted in blood! Basted in blood!"


    [ Huge cheers and applause. ]

    Norm MacDonald: [ about to chew on a turkey leg ] Cinder Calhoun and Sarah MacLachlan -- [ puts away the turkey leg ] -- everybody! Thanks. Thanks, Cinder Calhoun and Sarah MacLachlan. ... [ to the crowd ] I wonder if Cinder is related to Haystack Calhoun? ... Okay, folks. That's it! Good night!

    http://snltranscripts.jt.org/97/97gupdate.phtml


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Kent Davis
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 09:56 PM

That hymn study link is a treasure trove. I'm marking it as one of my favorites.

Thanks.

Kent


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 11:32 PM

69. We Gather Together
Words By Dick "Red" Ruffensor

We gather together to stroke ourselves madly
We're whipping the Bishop with powerful stroke
We're proudly workin' at jerkin' our gherkins
Mother Mary's still a virgin
We come in her name


Aw yes.....The folk process at work................

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 11:46 PM

Gee, Spaw, this is supposed to be a "G-rated" thread about a hymn. Just because I quoted something from Saturday Night Live, doesn't mean you have to get down and dirty in the back seat of the car...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 12:28 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 03:58 AM

Cat got your tongue, Spaw?
[grin]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 04:06 PM

I found a very nice background explanation in The Presbyterian Hymnal Companion (1993), by LindaJo H. McKim

    559 We Gather Together
    Tune: KREMSER
    This folk hymn dating from the seventeenth century was first written during Holland's struggles for independence from Spain. The political environment played a role in the writing of the text. Frederick Henry, prince of Orange, had just assumed leadership of the Dutch provinces following the assassination of his father, William the Silent (1625). A capable politician and military leader, Frederick led the way for Dutch independence. He ruled for more than a quarter of a century. Peace came to the Netherlands in 1648. The hymn was published in Adrian Valerius' Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck (1626) and attributed to no author.
    The English translation is by Theodore Baker (1851?1934). Baker was born in New York City and was literary editor for G. Schirmer Music Publishers (1892?1926). His Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (first published in 1900) became a standard reference work for musicologists. After his retirement he moved to Dresden, Germany, where he had been a student, remaining there until his death.

    KREMSER, thought to be a folk tune from the Netherlands, was the original setting of the text. Eduard Kremser (1838?1914), a Viennese composer and choir director, rediscovered the hymn after two centuries of neglect. He arranged the tune for male voices and published it in 1877. In subsequent collections the tune has been named for him. Kremser was born and died in Vienna, Austria. He was also known for his instrumental works.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I folk process 'We Gather Together'
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 05:56 PM

I'm glad to know I agree with the Baptists about something.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 February 3:41 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.