Friday, March 16, 2007

Lent: Day 21

Make Me a Captive, Lord

Text: George Matheson, 1890
Tune: DIADEMATA, George J. Elvey, 1868 (most common tune)

Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword, and I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms when by myself I stand;
Imprison me within Thine arms, and strong shall be my hand.

My heart is weak and poor until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure, it varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move till Thou has wrought its chain;
Enslave it with Thy matchless love, and deathless it shall reign.

My power is faint and low till I have learned to serve;
It lacks the needed fire to glow, it lacks the breeze to nerve.
It cannot drive the world until itself be driven;
Its flag can only be unfurled when Thou shalt breathe from heaven.

My will is not my own till Thou hast made it Thine;
If it would reach a monarch’s throne, it must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent amid the clashing strife,
When on Thy bosom it has leant, and found in Thee its life.


zorra said...

I think this intimate prayer needs a gentler, more contemplative melody than Diademata. I'm not familiar with this hymn and will have to poke around in the hymnal tomorrow (not during the sermon, though sometimes I'm tempted) to see what other tunes would fit it.

Psalmist said...

Interesting, Zorra. I'm hunting right now. I'm OK with Diademata because of the paradox of "conquering" by "rendering up one's sword," but I agree that a gentler melody would suit the text well.

In looking, I've discovered no true double Short Meter tunes that are any better. Single Short Meter works perfectly well, though. Among those, I find the "Saints" (Bride, Michael, and Thomas) are OK, and I kind of like Trentham (most commonly paired with "Breathe on Me, Breath of God"), though sometimes the word rhythm seems a little "off." But my favorite in this short search is Southwell. I like the haunting starkness and minor key. Haven't checked cyberhymnal yet to see if it's available to hear there, but I think it probably is.

zorra said...

Trentham gives the mood I was looking for. But yeah, after listening to Southwell (good old cyberhymnal)I think it works well, too.

Glad you liked the cartoon--I really did LOL when I saw it.