332. Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding

1 Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding!
"Christ is near," we hear it say.
"Cast away the works of darkness,
all you children of the day!"

2 Startled at the solemn warning,
from the darkness we arise;
Christ, our sun, all ill dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.

3 See, the Lamb so long expected
comes with pardon down from heaven.
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
one and all, to be forgiven;

4 so when next he comes in glory
and the world is wrapped in fear,
he will shield us with his mercy
and with words of love draw near.

5 Honor, glory, might, dominion
to the Father and the Son,
with the ever-living Spirit
while eternal ages run.

Text Information
First Line: Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding
Title: Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding
Meter: 87 87
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Doxologies; Return of Christ; Advent (4 more...)
Source: Latin, c. 6th cent.; tr. Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861, alt.
Tune Information
Composer: William H. Monk (1850)
Meter: 87 87
Key: E♭ Major
Source: Psalter Hymnal, 1987 (descant)

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Rom. 13:11-12
st. 2 = 2 Pet. 1:19
st. 3 = John 1:29
st. 4 = Luke 21:25-28
st. 5 = Rev. 5:13

Although earliest manuscript copy dates from the tenth century, this text is possibly as old as the fifth century. It is based on the Latin hymn 'Vox clara ecce intonat" and its 1632 revision "En clara vox redarguit." The text in the Psalter
is a revision of both Edward Caswall's (PHH 438) translation in his Lyra Catholica (1849) and the translation in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).

The hymn is most useful for Advent because it permits various interpretations of Christ's coming. Stanzas 1-3 contain references to Christ's first coming, but they can be used to celebrate his second coming as well. Stanza 4 surely refers to the second coming, and stanza 5, the only stanza addressed to God, is a doxology.

Liturgical Use:
During Advent for worship services that stress Christ's second coming; use stanza 5 as an Advent doxology.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

William H. Monk (b. Brompton, London, England, 1823; d. London, 1889) composed MERTON and published it in The Parish Choir (1850). The tune has been associated with this text since the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. The tune's title is thought to refer to Walter de Merton, founder of Merton College, Oxford, England.

Monk is best known for his music editing of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861, 1868,; 1875, and 1889 editions). He also adapted music from plainsong and added accompaniments for Introits for Use Throughout the Year, a book issued with that famous hymnal. Beginning in his teenage years, Monk held a number of musical positions. He became choirmaster at King's College in London in 1847 and was organist and choirmaster at St. Matthias, Stoke Newington, from 1852 to 1889, where he was influenced by the Oxford Movement. At St. Matthias, Monk also began daily choral services with the choir leading the congregation in music chosen according to the church year, including psalms chanted to plainsong. He composed over fifty hymn tunes and edited The Scottish Hymnal (1872 edition) and Wordsworth's Hymns for the Holy Year (1862) as well as the periodical Parish Choir (1840-1851).

MERTON consists of two long lines. It has an attractive rising figure at the opening, and it features consistent quarter-note rhythms. Sing the inner stanzas in a subdued manner, rising on stanza 4 to prepare for the climactic doxology in stanza 5. The hymn is suitable for part singing, but sing stanza 5 in unison with a choir singing the descant; add trumpets if possible.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
More media are available on the text authority and tune authority pages.

Suggestions or corrections? Contact us