190

O Sons and Daughters

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Like 211, this hymn is a narrative Easter carol; it begins with the Easter gospel from Matthew 28:1-10 (st. 1-3) and concludes with the doubting Thomas story from John 20:19-29 (st. 4-8). This hymn and 394 are the two Easter hymns dealing with Thomas.
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Easter hymns accomplish three functions: they recount the Easter narrative, proclaim our Easter hope, and celebrate our joy at Christ’s resurrection. This hymn is built on the professions of Easter truths that are expressed primarily in Heidelberg Catechism. Note especially the following:
  • Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 declares that Christ’s resurrection makes us share in Christ’s righteousness, raises us to a new life by his power, and is a sure pledge to us of our resurrection.
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 57 comforts us to know that not only our soul but “also my very flesh will be raised by the power of God, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body.”
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58 says that it may be a comfort to know that while experiencing the beginning of eternal joy now, “after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever.”
In addition, Our Song of Hope, stanza 5 professes: “On the day of the resurrection, the tomb was empty; His disciples saw Him; death was defeated; new life had come. God’s purpose for the world was sealed.”

Tune Information

Name
O FILII ET FILLAE
Key
g minor
Meter
4.4.4.4.8.8.8.4

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

If your congregation doesn’t read music well, consider giving the “alleluias” that open and close the hymn to choir alone. This allows the congregation to concentrate on learning the main melody and focusing on the text. A hand drum helps bring out the Medieval dance rhythm of this tune. Here’s an interesting way to highlight the song’s narrative: have the instruments drop out every time there is quoted dialog in the hymn text (“Your Lord has gone to Galilee.” “My peace be with you here.” Etc.)

 
— Greg Scheer

Hymn Story/Background

This hymn was written in Latin by Franciscan (Minorite) friar Jean Tisserand; it was found in an untitled booklet printed in Paris between 1518 and 1536. Tisserand's text, which began "O filii et filiae, Rex coelestis," was preceded by three "alleluias" and concluded by one. Several additional Latin stanzas were added at a later date.
 
John M. Neale translated the text into twelve stanzas, which were published in his Medieval Hymns and Sequences (1851). That transla­tion appeared in an altered form in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) and in various other hymnals. Neale's stanzas 1, 3, 5-7, and 8-10 form the present text.
 
This hymn is a narrative Easter carol; it begins with the Easter gospel from Matthew 28:1-10 (st. 1-3) and concludes with the doubting Thomas story from John 20:19-29 (st. 4-8).
 
Although it was not published until 1623 in the Parisian collection Airs sur les hymnes sacrez, odes et noels in four parts, O FILII ET FILIAE is thought to be contemporaneous with the text. The tune appears with small variations in a number of later songbooks and hymnals.
 
A joyful tune, O FILII ET FILIAE is appropriate for unison singing, but some of the stanzas and the final set of "alleluias" could easily be sung in parts. Sing the opening "alleluias,” which frame the entire carol, once at the beginning and once again at the conclusion. Use strong accompaniment for the "alleluias" and lighter accompaniment for the stanzas. This folk-dance tune needs to proceed with one pulse per bar. Harmony singing and accompaniment should not slow down the tune's dance-like character.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

A popular preacher, Franciscan (Minorite) Friar Jean Tisserand (b. France, 15th century; d. 1494) also composed other hymns in French and Latin. In 1492 he founded the Refuge of St. Madeleine, an institution for the rehabilitation of prostitutes.
 
Working from the Latin text, John Mason Neale (b. London, England, 1818; d. East Grinstead, Sussex, England, 1866) translated this originally Latin text.  Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackville College in East Grinstead, a retirement home for poor men. There he served the men faithfully and expanded Sackville's ministry to indigent women and orphans. He also founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret, which became one of the finest English training orders for nurses.
Laboring in relative obscurity, Neale turned out a prodigious number of books and artic1es on liturgy and church history, including A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland (1858); an account of the Roman Catholic Church of Utrecht and its break from Rome in the 1700s; and his scholarly Essays on Liturgiology and Church History 1863). Neale contributed to church music by writing original hymns, including two volumes of Hymns for Children (1842, 1846), but especially by translating Greek and Latin hymns into English. These translations appeared in Medieval Hymns and Sequences (1851, 1863, 1867), The Hymnal Noted (1852, 1854), Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862),and Hymns Chiefly Medieval (1865). Because a number of Neale's translations were judged unsingable, editors usually amended his work, as evident already in the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modem; Neale claimed no rights to his texts and was pleased that his translations could contribute to hymnody as the "common property of Christendom."
— Bert Polman