Sunday, January 08, 2006

Why, oh why?

Why, oh why, do the editors of hymns books think that it is a good idea to try to 'improve' on the poetry of the original hymn writers and poets? And why, oh why, do churches buy new hymn books that have ruined the old hymns and substituted garbage for fine words?
Some time, when I feel strong enough to face up to the enormity of the situation, I shall start sharing some of the sad cases in the New English Hymnal with you.
Some people are not aware that the New English Hymnal is not the same thing as the English Hymnal. Some people refer to the former as though it were the latter (just new copies of an old favourite). It would be as well to start by reminding you that the New English Hymnal is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and that it has chosen to dress itself in green covers just to deceive you.
Long live the good old English Hymnal, I say. Or rather bring back the good old English Hymnal (if there are any to bring back).
In what follows I shall not infrequently complain about the New English Hymnal (NEH for short). Those complaints are never about the English Hymnal (EH for short).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that King's College Cambridge was the last major bastion of the EH, holding out until a few years ago. You can still find it in use at St. John the Baptist, Bathwick, though! (Along with A & M New Standard (!) for some hymn tunes, and a supplement of hymns not in EH.) We bought some new copies two or three years ago.