Grammar of Lyrics, Theology of

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Haruo, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. Haruo

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    Mar 15, 2003
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    Someone in another forum here was criticizing the Methodists (I think it was) for removing "worm" from the first stanza of "Alas! and did my Saviour bleed?" (perhaps more widely sung in our churches as "At the Cross" with Ralph Hudson's "happy happy happy" chorus added).

    Singing "At the Cross" last Sunday, I noticed that the Fremont Church's hymnals (Word Music's The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration) gives as its third stanza
    It is my contention that the capitalization of "His [glories]" here misconstrues the sense of the stanza, i.e., that the intent of Isaac Watts was to say that it was fitting for the sun to hide its face when Christ was crucified; capitalizing "His" makes it appear that the sun was hiding not its own glories, but Christ's, which I do *not* think is what Watts meant. BTW I also notice that the 1989 Methodist hymnal has "When God, the mighty Maker, died" rather than "When Christ..."; I won't hazard a guess which is original.

    I would be interested in other cases where sometimes very minor modifications in lyrics can lead to mondegreens or semantic inversions. One that drives me up a wall is unmotivated switching between "you" and "thou/thee" in a song text. For example, the famous, simple, moving (or would be if its grammar weren't so irritating!)

    whose day it apparently is to pick nits ;)

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