Wednesday, October 6, 2010

O God of Earth and Altar - G. K. Chesterton

This is my favorite hymn. There are at least two different tunes for it and one is considerably better then the other. I couldn't find good videos of either. The words will have to speak for themselves...and they do that very well. :-)

    O God of Earth and Altar

    O God of earth and altar,

      Bow down and hear our cry,
    Our earthly rulers falter,
      Our people drift and die;
    The walls of gold entomb us,
      The swords of scorn divide,
    Take not thy thunder from us,
      But take away our pride.

    From all that terror teaches,

      From lies of tongue and pen,
    From all the easy speeches
      That comfort cruel men,
    From sale and profanation
      Of honour and the sword,
    From sleep and from damnation,
      Deliver us, good Lord.

    Tie in a living tether

      The prince and priest and thrall,
    Bind all our lives together,
      Smite us and save us all;
    In ire and exultation
      Aflame with faith, and free,
    Lift up a living nation,
      A single sword to thee.
            - G.K. Chesterton

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

4 comments:

Miss Rose said...

I love that... I really need to read some G. K. Chesterton... I haven't really read anything by him...

Jubilant Wife said...

I really like this one too!

Anonymous said...

"a single sword to thee...."
Who, precisely, is that sword supposed to be cutting into slightly after being raised?
Chesterton did have a rather odd attitude to war.

Miss Pickwickian said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for commenting.

I have always interpreted the last couple lines....

"Tie in a living tether
The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to thee."

To mean being lifted up as in pledged or dedicated to. Like a knight swearing to use his sword for his king. Basically something united and dedicated to the service of our King.

Chesterton does use war language, but I think this is biblical. Both the Old and New Testament uses war language. Paul uses a lot of military metaphor.

Thanks for your comment,
Miss Pickwickian