Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Friday, January 05, 2007

"In sultry forests / where apes swing to and fro"

In another Internet forum I mentioned our church's exclusive use of the 1940 Hymnal and got the following reply:
I learned to sing from the 1940 Hymnal. I miss it! Some funny hymns in there too...there's one in the "Missions" section (I think it was 262) with a line about people who work in "sultry forests where apes swing to and fro." Classic.
My immediate reaction (beyond "your church doesn't use the 1940 Hymnal?!") was: what is this hymn?

A little research said it's there, and it is in fact Hymn 262. Per another correspondent:

Remember all the people
Who live in far off lands
In strange and lovely cities
Or roam the desert sands,
Or farm the mountain pastures
Or till the endless plains
Where children wade through rice fields
And watch the camel trains.

Some work in sultry forests
Where apes swing to and fro,
Some fish in mighty rivers,
Some hunt across the snow.
Remember all God’s children,
Who yet have never Heard
The truth that comes from Jesus,
The glory of His Word.

God bless the men and women
Who serve Him overseas;
God raise up more to help them
To set the nations free,
Till all the distant people
In every foreign place
Shall understand His kingdom,
And come into His grace
Very English in some ways, but odd that I've never heard this. By my calculations if my church sang only one hymn each Sunday, in numerical order, by now I'd have sung each and every one three or four times. But this one.. never.

Then again there are other hymns I know I've never sung. Such as 468, Dies Irae, the favorite of an old friend, church organist and high-school chemistry teacher named Preston Q. Boomer. Looking at Dies Irae tonight we saw its "Part II" for the first time.

I wonder what else lurks in the unused forgotten corners of our Hymnal. Maybe Fr. Daniel can shed some light into those for us.


  • At 10:11 PM, Blogger Anglican Parish Priest said…

    That is hilarious, and yet, could we sing the words "in sultry forests where apes swing to and fro" with the customary Anglican stiff-upper-lip?

    It is also interesting to note that the perspective of the "Missions" section of the Hymnal, 1940 is clearly that Britain & America are Christian Lands, while in the "heathen lands afar" the people languish still in darkness.

    Who could have predicted that in 2007 there would be far more Anglicans practising their faith in Africa than in England, Canada, Australia AND the USA combined!

  • At 7:27 PM, Blogger Continuing Home said…

    Fr. Daniel,

    I would bet we could ''sing the words "in sultry forests where apes swing to and fro" with the customary Anglican stiff-upper-lip'', when one looks at the context. You're on -- but no money or other remuneration accompanies the bet.

    One of *my* personal favorites (it's not everyone's and that included our own Fr. Leen), Kipling's "Recessional" (#147) carries similar elements. The refrain is what rings with me...

    And I will "balance" #147 with another favourite: #519, "Once To Every Man and Nation." Kathy was surprised to see part of verse 4 on a non-Anglican but Christian attorney friend's office wall.


Post a Comment

<< Home