Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

During this time whilst we can’t sing together in worship we are aiming to post a different hymn each week. For some Sundays it will be the obvious hymn in Common Praise for a particular Sunday and a brief commentary – partly with reference to The Penguin Book of Hymns edited by Ian Bradley, The Nation’s Favourite Hymns by Andrew Barr or research on the internet – will be published with our hymn choice for the week. The words of the hymn will be provided alongside a recording of the hymn, courtesy of Lucy Colbourne at home whilst Lancaster University is in lockdown. This will have been recorded by Billy Colbourne (Assistant Organist) and includes use of his Hauptwerk organ also at home, with the sounds of Salisbury Cathedral’s organ.

Charles Pavey – Organist & Choirmaster

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Come, ye thankful people, come, 
raise the song of harvest home: 
all is safely gathered in, 
ere the winter storms begin: 
God our Maker doth provide 
for our wants to be supplied; 
come to God's own temple, come; 
raise the song of harvest-home! 

All the world is God's own field, 
fruit unto his praise to yield; 
wheat and tares together sown, 
unto joy or sorrow grown; 
first the blade and then the ear, 
then the full corn shall appear: 
grant, O harvest Lord, that we 
wholesome grain and pure may be. 

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take his harvest home; 
from his field shall purge away
all that doth offend, that day;
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast, 
but the fruitful ears to store 
in his garner evermore. 

Then, thou Church Triumphant, come,
raise the song of harvest-home;
all be safely gathered in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there for ever purified
in God's garner to abide:
come, ten thousand angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest-home!

Henry Alford

Tune: St George's Windsor
Music: G J Elvey

CCLI - 1073121

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hymn Commentary 

Only this week’s Hymn for the Week and one other are most likely to count as the ‘must-haves’ for Harvest.  So alongside Come, ye thankful people, come it will only be We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land that ranks as the other most popular harvest hymn.  Unfortunately this year, with Covid-19 having made for a lack of congregational singing, it is likely that they will have to wait until next year before they get a proper airing; maybe we should sing them twice at Harvest 2021! 

The words of Come, ye thankful people, come were written by Henry Alford.  Born in Bloomsbury, London in 1810, he was the son of an Anglican clergyman and he followed into his Father’s business when he was ordained in 1833.  He had previously been educated at Ilminster Grammar School, Somerset and Trinity College, Cambridge.  He became Dean of Canterbury Cathedral in 1857 and remained there until his death in 1871.  He wrote a number of hymns and Come, ye thankful people, come was first published in Alford’s Psalms and Hymns in 1844.  It was revised by the author in 1865 but the hymn has seen further revisions by others when published in subsequent hymnbooks over the years.

Two of Christ’s parables are echoed in the second verse of Come, ye thankful people, come: see Matthew 13:24-30 and Mark 4:26-29.  In the latter, verse 27 tells of the seed which springs up without the sower knowing it.  Then, in verse 28, ‘For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.’ (Authorised King James Version)

St George is the hymn tune universally sung to this hymn although the tune was initially written for another hymn.  There is a further connection with Canterbury as the composer, George Elvey, was born there in 1816.  He moved to Oxford in his early teens and finished his musical education there.  As well as being a composer, he was also the organist at St George’s Chapel, Windsor from 1835 to 1882.  Retiring to Windlesham, Surrey, he died in 1893.  Amongst his most famous anthems is The Souls of the Righteous which he composed for the funeral of Prince Albert in 1861.  This anthem was sung at Holy Trinity on Remembrance Sunday 2019.  Like Harvest Sunday this year though, Remembrance Sunday 2020 also looks like being devoid of congregational singing…roll on next year!

Charles Pavey - Organist & Choirmaster

 

Anthem for the Week