Lord of Hopefulness (like Be Thou My Vision) is set to the popular Irish melody Slane. This choral arrangement is just lovely.
Joyce Torrens (1901-53), who wrote under the name of Jan Struther, became famous for a newspaper column in which she presented herself in the character of Mrs Miniver, a briskly sensible and humorous middle-class woman whose spirit seemed to embody a certain sort of plucky Englishness.
Mrs Miniver was turned into a film in 1942: heavily promoted in the USA, where it won the Oscar for Best Picture, it became crucial in the effort to woo American public opinion to support entry into the war against Hitler.
There was not a single battle scene in the film, yet through its portrayal of the hardships suffered and overcome by a middle-class English family during the Blitz, it aroused the sympathy of ordinary Americans most effectively.
This hymn was written in 1929 at the request of Torrens’s London neighbour, Canon Percy Dearmer of Westminster Abbey, for his new edition of Songs of Praise.
Dearmer was delighted by its success, announcing in Songs of Praise Discussed (1933) that he was “lately returned from a service of university students, who have speedily made it their favourite”.
JR Watson calls it “entirely characteristic of its age, forward-looking, non-doctrinal, non-sectarian” and highlights its decision – quite daring at the time – to replace “Thy” with “You”. Torrens herself – whose interest in Christianity was minimal – chose the shapely tune Slane, an old Irish melody.
Lord of All Hopefulness:
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
At the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord,
At the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, Your arms to embrace.
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord,
At the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord,
At the end of the day.