Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thoughtful Hours, by H.L.L.


A collection of 35 poems and hymns by Jane Laurie Borthwick, best known for her translation of 'Be Still, My Soul'.  Borthwick, who, along with her sister, translated Hymns from the Land of Luther, is writing here under the name 'H.L.L.' (presumably derived from the title of her previous work).

Several of these hymns (or poems--since it's just text, it's tough to tell) are quite moving, particularly those in the first half of the volume.  The theology is fairly solid, and many of the poems also boast significant objective merit, in my admittedly amateur opinion--particularly as regards her use of repetition and parallel construction.

The volume pictured here is a paperback reprint, but we lucked out and got an original hardcover edition, which at 4"x5"x1/2" is a really nice portable size and seems to be good quality.

Here's an excerpt from the book, to give you an idea of what to expect:
Thus far the Lord hath led us on,--in darkness and in day.
Through all the varied stages of the narrow homeward way.
Long since, he took that journey, he trod that path alone;
Its trials and its dangers full well himself hath known. 
Thus far the Lord hath led us,--the promise has not failed,
The enemy encountered oft has never quite prevailed:
The shield of faith has turned aside, or quenched each fiery dart;
The Spirit's sword, in weakest hands, has forced him to depart. 
Thus far the Lord hath led us,--the waters have been high,
But yet in passing through them we felt that he was nigh.
A very present helper in trouble we have found;
His comforts most abounded when our sorrows did abound. 
Thus far the Lord hath led us,--our need has been supplied,
And mercy has encompassed us about on every side;
Still falls the daily manna, the pure rock-fountains flow,
And many flowers of love and hope along the wayside grow. 
Thus far the Lord hath led us,--and will he now forsake
The feeble ones for whom his own it pleased him to take?
Oh, never, never! earthly friends may cold and faithless prove,
But his is changeless pity, and everlasting love. 
Calmly we look behind us, on joys and sorrows past;
We know that all is mercy now, and shall be well at last.
Calmly we look before us,--we fear no future ill;
Enough for safety and for peace, if thou art with us still. 
Yes, 'They that know thy name, O Lord, shall put their trust in thee,'
While nothing in themselves but sin and helplessness they see.
The race though hast appointed us, with patience we can run;
Thou wilt perform unto the end the work thou hast begun.

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