Hymn #66: O Day of Radiant Gladness

Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) presented this text in six stanzas as the opening hymn in his collection The Holy Year (1862).  In the version provided in The New Century Hymnal, only the first two stanzas are from Wordsworth's original; the third and fourth were created for The Hymnal 1982.

 

Christopher Wordsworth spent fourteen years as public orator at Cambridge University and headmaster at Harrow School.  Later he was rector for nineteen years at a quiet country parish where he had time for study and writing.  A Greek scholar, Wordsworth often wrote about Greek culture.

This old German tune is named ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVOGELEIN after the first line of a folk song translated as "There flew a little forest bird."  It was first paired with Wordsworth's text in George R. Woodward's Songs of Syon (London, 1904).

 

George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848-1934) harmonized this tune found in a seventeen-century manuscript.  His Songs of Syon (1904) was a supplemental collection of plainsong and metrical melodies, Lutheran tunes, and psalm tunes from various countries.