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A Dog Hymn For Derb


Against the several thousand reasons for leaving the Episcopal Church that Derb has amassed, I offer this reason–a very beautiful reason–for remaining in it. From a reader:

Mr. Robinson,

As [a] classical music archivist.., I get queries similar
to yours fairly frequently so when I read your request on the Corner, I
decided to have a go at it. Alas, I can find no carols that mention dogs.
However, I do remember a children’s hymn of thanksgiving, no. 313, in the
Episcopalian 1940 Hymnal (a far better hymnal than the 1982) entitled, “We
Thank You, Lord of Heaven.” I’ve pasted it below. In the second stanza,
please note the reference to “dogs with friendly faces,” a line that
delighted me as a kid and does so now.

According to website whence I copied the text the
words are by “Jan Struther,” pseudonym of Joyce Maxtone Graham, author of
“Mrs. Miniver.”

We thank you, Lord of Heaven,

For all the joys that greet us,

For all that you have given

In earth and sky and seas;

The sunlight on the meadows,

The rainbow’s fleeting wonder,

The clouds with cooling shadows,

The stars that shine in splendour?

We thank you, Lord, for these.

For swift and gallant horses,

For lambs in pastures springing,

For dogs with friendly faces,

For birds with music thronging

Their chantries in the trees;

For herbs to cool our fever,

For flowers of field and garden,

For bees among the clover

With stolen sweetness laden?

We thank you, Lord, for these.

For homely dwelling-places

For bread to stay our hunger

And sleep to bring us ease;

For zeal and zest of living,

For faith and understanding,

For hope of peace unending?

We thank you, Lord, for these.

I hope this will serve as partial compensation for the paucity of dogs in
Christmas carols.


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