382. Ride On, Ride On in Majesty

1 Ride on, ride on in majesty
as all the crowds "Hosanna!" cry;
through waving branches slowly ride,
O Savior, to be crucified.

2 Ride on, ride on in majesty,
in lowly pomp ride on to die;
O Christ, your triumph now begin
o'er captive death and conquered sin!

3 Ride on, ride on in majesty,
the last and fiercest foe defy;
the Father on his sapphire throne
awaits his own anointed Son.

4 Ride on, ride on in majesty,
in lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow your meek head to mortal pain,
then take, O God, your power and reign!

Text Information
First Line: Ride on, ride on, in majesty
Title: Ride On, Ride On in Majesty
Author: Henry Hart Milman (1827, alt.)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: LM
Scripture: ;
Topic: Cross of Christ; Epiphany & Ministry of Christ; King, God/Christ as (4 more...)
Language: English
Tune Information
Composer: Henry B. Hays (1981, alt.)
Meter: LM
Key: f minor
Copyright: Tune © 1981, Order of St. Benedict, Inc.

Text Information:

Scripture References:
all st. = Matt 21:1-17

Henry H. Milman (b. St. James, London, England, 1791; d. Sunninghill, Berkshire, England, 1868) wrote this text around 1822. It was first published in Reginald Heber's (PHH 249) Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Services of the Year (1827). Of the text of this fine Palm Sunday hymn, Stanley L. Osborne (PHH 395) has written,

Objective, robust, confident, and stirring, it possesses that peculiar combination of tragedy and victory which draws the singer into the very centre of the drama. It is this which gives the hymn its power and its challenge (If Such Holy Song, 449).

The text unites meekness and majesty, sacrifice and conquest, suffering and glory–all central to the gospel for Palm Sunday. Each stanza begins with "Ride on, ride on in majesty." Majesty is the text's theme as the writer helps us to experience the combination of victory and tragedy that characterizes the Triumphal Entry. Christ is hailed with "Hosanna" as he rides forth to be crucified (st. 1). That death spells victory: it is his triumph "o'er captive death and conquered sin" (st. 2). God the Father awaits Christ's victory with expectation (st. 3). Finally, Christ rides forth to take his "power … and reign!" (Note how "reign" is subtly offered as both noun and verb.) The original third stanza was not included.

Milman was a playwright, professor of poetry, historian, theologian, churchman, and hymn writer–and he was successful in all these areas. He graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford, England, in 1816, and by 1823 had written three popular plays with religious themes. He was appointed professor of poetry at Oxford in 1821 but turned to the study of church history after 1827. His History of the Jews (1829), which raised vehement protest from reviewers, was influenced by the new critical German methods. Ordained in 1817, Milman served St. Mary's Church in Reading and St. Margaret's Church in London; his most illustrious church appointment was as dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, a position he held from 1849 until his death. His finest scholarly work is his History of Latin Christianity (1854). Milman wrote thirteen hymns, all published in Bishop Heber's Hymns (1827).

Liturgical Use:
Obligatory for every Palm Sunday morning worship service (with 375/376).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Henry B. Hays (b. Clarksville, TN, 1920) composed CHICKAHOMINY, which was published in his collection of hymn tunes, Swayed Pines Song Book (1981). Hays was raised in the Protestant tradition but since the 1950's has been a Benedictine monk at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. A Civil War devotee, he has derived his hymn tune titles from names of battles or places associated with that war.

CHICKAHOMINY is a stirring tune that fits well with this text. The tune is marked by well-placed descending and ascending melodic figures; the final phrase was rhythmically simplified. Although part singing is possible on the middle stanzas, try having the group or congregation sing in unison throughout (but especially on st. 1 and 4). The hymn needs forceful accompaniment and surely requires a raised third on the final chord of stanza 4!

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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