KH 311 and KH 312 Always with us, always with us

Writing the post on the two versions of “To God be the glory” reminded me of another similar case involving what at least in English is a much less important, indeed an obscure, hymn. In English, this innocuous little hymn by one Edward H. Nevin, first published in 1857—

Always with us, always with us,
Words of cheer, and words of love;
Thus the risen Savior whispers,
From His dwelling place above.

With us when we toil in sadness,
Sowing much, and reaping none;
Telling us that in the future
Golden harvests shall be won.

With us when the storm is sweeping,
O’er our pathway dark and drear;
Waking hope within our bosoms,
Stilling every anxious fear.

With us in the lonely valley,
When we cross the chilling stream;
Lighting up the steps to glory
With salvation’s radiant beam.

—is a relative rarity. In the 40 or so hymnals I have indexed, it occurs only twice, once  (in the 1883 Baptist Hymnal) set to STOCKWELL (by Darius E. Jones, 1850)—the tune given in the Karen hymnal—and once (in the American Hymnal of 1933) to a different tune by B. B. McKinney (no midi). In the Cyber Hymnal™, the text is set to Brocklesby, 1868, by Charlotte Alington Barnard. But the 1963 Sgaw Karen Hymn and Tune Book gives two different translations of it (PDF), the first by J.H.V. (Mrs. J. H. Vinton) and the second by D.C.G. (Professor D. C. Gilmore).

Which is the better song? Which is the more faithful translation? Is either (or both) in wide use in Karen worship today? If both, would it work to set one of them to one of the other tunes?


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