561. Rejoice, O Pure in Heart

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1 Rejoice, O pure in heart,
rejoice, give thanks, and sing;
your festal banner wave on high,
the cross of Christ your King.

Rejoice, rejoice,
rejoice, give thanks, and sing!

2 Bright youth and snow-crowned age,
both men and women, raise
on high your free, exulting song,
declare God's wondrous praise. Refrain

3 Still lift your standard high,
still chanting as you go,
from youth to age, by night and day,
in gladness and in woe. Refrain

4 At last the march shall end;
the wearied ones shall rest,
the pilgrims reach their home at last,
Jerusalem the blest. Refrain

5 Praise God, who reigns on high,
the Lord whom we adore:
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
one God forevermore. Refrain

Text Information
First Line: Rejoice, O pure in heart
Title: Rejoice, O Pure in Heart
Author: Edward H. Plumptre (1865, alt.)
Refrain First Line: Rejoice, rejoice
Meter: SM with refrain
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ;
Topic: Doxologies; Biblical Names & Places: Jerusalem; Cross of Christ (9 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: Arthur H. Messiter (1883)
Meter: SM with refrain
Key: G Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 2 = Ps. 40:3
ref. = Phil. 4:4

Anglican clergyman Edward H. Plumptre (PHH 363) wrote this text for use as a processional hymn for the annual choral festival at Peterborough Cathedral, England (May 1865). "Rejoice, a Pure in Heart" was originally in eleven stanzas-long enough for all the choirs to process into the cathedral. It was published in the third edition of Plumptre's Lazarus and Other Poems (1868) and in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern (1868). Of the original eleven stanzas, 1,2,8,9, and 11 are included.

In this text the imagery of a liturgical procession becomes a marching metaphor for the journey of life. The call to "rejoice, give thanks and sing" (st. 1) is extended to all people, "bright youth and snow-crowned age, both men and women" (st. 2), and on all occasions, "by night and day, in gladness and in woe" (st. 3). Life's pilgrimage has a specific goal, to be at rest in the new Jerusalem (st. 4) where all God's creatures will join in a great doxology (st. 5). The "rejoice" theme in the refrain is borrowed from Philippians 4:4.

Liturgical Use:
As a processional or recessional hymn for festive occasions; the "pilgrimage" theme may be suitable for Old/New Year services and for funerals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Arthur H. Messiter (b. Frome, Somersetshire, England, 1834; d. New York, NY, 1916) composed MARION for this text in 1883 and named it after his wife [sic. mother]. The tune was published in the Hymnal with Music as Used in Trinity Church (1893), a hymnal compiled by Messiter during his long term of service as organist/ choirmaster at Trinity Church (Episcopal) in New York City (1866-1897).

Educated by private tutors in England, Messiter immigrated to the United States in 1863 and had an active musical career in Philadelphia, which included an organist position at St. James the Less. At Trinity Church in New York City, he modeled with distinction the British cathedral tradition of music. Messiter was an editor of the Episcopal Hymnal (1893), compiled the Psalter (1889) and Choir Office Book (1891), and wrote a musical history of Trinity Episcopal Church, New York (1906).

A short-meter tune, MARION is distinguished by an appealing melodic contour and an effective refrain line. Sing stanzas 1-4 in harmony and the final, doxological stanza in unison. The refrain would benefit from the use of a descant. Do not rush! Though MARION is the preferred tune for congregational singing of this text, choir directors may want to consider using Richard Dirksen's anthem on his VINEYARD HAVEN tune (163) for choral festivals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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