From Greenland’s Icy Mountains

This is the original text of this hymn as it appeared in the 1827 Hymns adapted to the Weekly Service of the Church Year. It was used in that hymnal as a hymn before a collection made for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel:

From Greenland’s icy mountains,
From India’s coral strand,
Where Afric’s sunny fountains
Roll down their golden sand;
From many an ancient river,
From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver
Their land from error’s chain!

What though the spicy breezes
Blow soft o’er Java’s(1) isle,
Though every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile:
In vain with lavish kindness
The gifts of God are strewn(2),
The Heathen, in his blindness,
Bows down to wood and stone!

Can we, whose souls are lighted
With Wisdom from on high,
Can we to men benighted
The lamp of life deny?
Salvation! oh, Salvation!
The joyful sound proclaim,
Till each remotest nation
Has learn’d Messiah’s name!

Waft waft ye winds his story,
And you ye waters roll,
Till like a sea of glory,
It spreads from pole to pole;
Till o’er our ransom’d Nature,
The Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator,
In bliss returns to reign! (3)

Words: Reginald Heber, 1823.*
Tune:Calcutta Reginald Heber (1783-1826).
Alternate Tune:Aurelia” Samuel S. Wesley, 1864.
Meter: 7.6.7.6.D

*According to CyberHymnal, 1819.

The following are the minor alterations of the text that appear in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1867):
(1) Ceylon’s
(2) strown,
(3) “Amen.” is added after the end of this verse.

Here is Christian Gottlob Barth’s German translation of this hymn which Hymns Ancient and Modern (1867) provides in the margins:

Von Grönlands eis’gen Zinken,
Chinas Korallen Strand;
Wo Ophirs Quellen blinken
Fortströmend goldnen Sand;
Von manchem alten Ufer,
Von manchem Palmenland,
Erschallt das Fleh’n der Rufer:
“Löst unsrer Blindheit Band!”

Gewürzte Düfte weben
Sanft über Ceylons Flur:
Es glänzt Natur und Leben,
Schlecht sind die Menschen nur:
Umsonst sind Gottes Gaben
So reichlich ausgestreut;
Die blinden Heiden haben
Sich Holz und Stein geweiht.

Und wir mit Licht im Herzen,
Mit Weisheit aus den Höh’n,
Wir könnten es verschmerzen,
Dass sie im Finstern geh’n?
Nein! Nein! das Heil im Sohne
Sei laut und froh bezeugt,
Bis sich vor Christi Throne
Der fernste Volkstamm beugt.

Ihr Wasser sollt es tragen
Ihr Winder führt es hin,
Bis Seine Strahlenwagen
Von Pol’ zu Pole zieh’n:
Bis der versöhnten Erde
Das Lamm, der Sünder Freund,
Der Herr und Hirt der Heerde,
In Herrlichkeit erscheint. Amen.

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About Noah

musings of a young Catholic aspiring to be faithful to his Lord and God Jesus Christ through His Holy Catholic Church
This entry was posted in German Hymns, Hymns By The Greats, Missions, Reginald Heber, The Christian Life And Mission, Translations of English Hymns to Other Languages and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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