Now in Vain the Distance Beacons

Representative Text

1 Not in vain the distance beacons.
Forward, forward let us range.
Let the great world spin forever
down the ringing grooves of change;
through the shadow of the globe
we sweep ahead to heights sublime,
we, the heirs of all the ages,
in the foremost files of time.

2 Oh, we see the crescent promise
of that spirit has not set;
ancient founts of inspiration
well through all our fancies yet;
and we doubt not through the ages
one increasing purpose runs,
and the thoughts of all are widened
with the process of the suns.

3 Yea, we dip into the future,
far as human eye can see,
see the vision of the world,
and all the wonder that shall be,
hear the war-drum throb no longer,
see the battle flags all furled,
in the parliament of freedom,
federation of the world.

Source: Singing the Living Tradition #143

Author: Baron Tennyson Alfred Tennyson

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, son of the Rev. G. C. Tennyson, Rector of Somersby, Lincolnshire, was born at Somersby, Aug. 6, 1809; educated at Trinity College, Cambridge; appointed Poet Laureate in 1850, and raised to the Peerage in 1884. Although Lord Tennyson has not written any hymns, extracts from his poems are sometimes used as such, as "Strong Son of God, immortal Love" (Faith in the Son of God), from the Introduction to his In Memoriam, 1850; the well-known "Too late, too late, ye cannot enter now," and others. The former is sometimes given as "Spirit of immortal Love," and again as "Eternal God, immortal Love." --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)  Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Not in vain the distance beacons
Title: Now in Vain the Distance Beacons
Author: Baron Tennyson Alfred Tennyson
Meter: D
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain




Henry T. Smart (PHH 233) composed REX GLORIAE for this text; the hymn was published in the 1868 Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern. Stanley L. Osborne (PHH 395) suggests that Smart initially intended REX GLORIAE as a tune for children. Derived from the topic of Wordsworth's text, the tune's name m…

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Singing the Living Tradition #143

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