Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue (William Mather)

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  • CPDL #28169:        (Sibelius 7)
Editor: Edmund Gooch (submitted 2013-01-29).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 50 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: The parts are identified in the source as Treble - Counter - Tenor - Bass - Organ or Piano Forte. The Counter and Tenor parts are given in the alto and tenor clefs respectively. The keyboard accompaniment part, which is given in full in the source as well as having bass figuring, doubles the voices, and has been omitted from this edition. The first verse only of the text is underlaid in the original, with the other four verses printed after the music: the word 'form' in the last line of the fourth verse is printed in the source as 'from'. The A in the treble part on beat 2 of bar 13 is printed in the source as a small grace note and has been editorially expanded.
MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.

General Information

Title: Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue
Composer: William Mather
Lyricist: Matthew Prior

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredHymn   Meter: 10 10. 10 10

Language: English
Instruments: Keyboard

Published: 1807 in Sacred Music, London, p. 29.

Description: Setting of verses by Matthew Prior paraphrasing I Corinthians 13. Hymn Tune Index tune number 12098.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue
Than ever man pronounc'd, or angels sung;
Had I all knowledge, human and divine,
That thought can reach, or science can define;

And had I pow'r to give that knowledge birth,
In all the speeches of the babbling earth;
Did Shadrach's zeal my glowing breast inspire,
To weary tortures, and rejoice in fire;

Or had I faith like that which Israel saw
When Moses gave them miracles and law;
Yet, gracious charity, indulgent guest,
Were not thy pow'r exerted in my breast,

Those speeches would send up unheeded pray'r,
That scorn of life would be but wild despair,
A cymbal's sound were better than my voice,
My faith were form, my eloquence were noise.

Charity, decent, modest, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind;
Knows with just reins and gentle hand to guide
Betwixt vile shame and arbitrary pride.