318. The Day You Gave Us, Lord, Is Ended
st. 3 = Ps. 113:3
John Ellerton (b. London, England, 1826; d. Torquay, Devonshire, England, 1893) wrote this evening hymn (and 319) in 1870 for A Liturgy for Missionary Meetings. The text's dominant theme is the growing worldwide fellowship of the Christian church and its unbroken, unceasing offering of praise and prayer to God. Even though Victoria may have chosen the hymn to symbolize the British Empire, stanza 4 wisely reminds us that earthly kingdoms pass away–only the kingdom of God stands and grows forever.
Ellerton borrowed the hymn's first line from an anonymous text in Church Poetry (1843). He then revised his text for the hymn's publication in the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge's Church Hymns (1871), of which he was coeditor. Possibly prompted by the suitability of the worldwide church image as a symbol for the British Empire "on which the sun never sets," Queen Victoria chose this hymn to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Victoria's use of the hymn assured its populari¬ty in the English-speaking world.
Educated at King William's College on the Isle of Man and at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, Ellerton was ordained in the Church of England in 1851. He served six parishes, spending the longest time in Crewe Green (1860-1872), a church of steelworkers and farmers. Ellerton wrote and translated about eighty hymns, many of which are still sung today. He helped to compile Church Hymns and wrote its handbook, Notes and Illustrations to Church Hymns (1882). Some of his other hymn texts were published in The London Mission Hymn Book(1884).
An evening hymn at the close of worship (st. 1 is only for evening use); a missionary hymn; at festivals of the church: Pentecost, worldwide communion, All Saints/Reformation Day.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
ST. CLEMENT was composed for this text by Rev. Clement C. Scholefield (b. Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, 1839; d. Goldalming, Surrey, England, 1904). ST. CLEMENT was published in Arthur S. Sullivan's 1874 hymnal, Church Hymns with Tunes; of his own accord Sullivan (PHH 46) "canonized" his curate, Scholefield, by naming this tune ST. CLEMENT. Educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, Scholefield was ordained in the Church of England in 1867. He served at Hove, Brighton, St. Peter's in Kensington (1869-1879), and briefly at St. Luke's in Chelsea. From 1880 to 1890 he was chaplain at Eton College and from 1890 to 1895 vicar of Holy Trinity in Knightsbridge. Mainly self-taught as a musician, Scholefield became an accomplished pianist and composed some songs and hymn tunes, of which ST. CLEMENT is the only one in common use today; it is always joined to Ellerton's text.
Although some people object to the waltz-like rhythms of ST. CLEMENT, most love the melody with its slurred tones. Sing with solid organ support or accompaniment. For the fourth stanza, the organist could slow down slightly and add the most brilliant mixture and reeds available.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook