|Title:||[Holy Spirit, faithful Guide] (Wells)|
|Composer:||M. M. Wells (1858)|
|Incipit:||55113 21233 517|
Converted to Christianity as a youth at a mission in Buffalo, New York, Marcus Morris Wells (b. Cooperstown, NY, 1815; d. Hartwick, NY, 1895) spent most of his life near Hartwick as a farmer and maker of farm implements. He is remembered in hymnody for writing both the text and tune of "Holy Spirit, Faithful Guide." "On a Saturday afternoon, October 1858, while at work in my cornfield, the sentiment of the hymn came to me," writes Wells. "The next day, Sunday, being a very stormy day, I finished the hymn and wrote the tune for it and sent it to Prof. I. B. Woodbury." Isaac Woodbury was the editor of the New York Musical Pioneer, and the original text and tune were first published in that periodical's November 1858 issue.
GUIDE has been associated with Psalm 121 since the 1887 Psalter. GUIDE is a rounded bar form (AABA); it has basically one rhythmic pattern and a very simple harmony. One antiphonal arrangement that works nicely is to have a soloist ask the opening question and everyone sing the rest in reply. The tune's simplicity invites unaccompanied singing in harmony.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988