409. Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise

1 Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!
to his throne beyond the skies. Alleluia!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia!
enters now the highest heaven. Alleluia!

2 There for him high triumph waits; Alleluia!
lift your heads, eternal gates. Alleluia!
He has conquered death and sin; Alleluia!
take the King of glory in. Alleluia!

3 Highest heaven its Lord receives; Alleluia!
yet he loves the earth he leaves. Alleluia!
Though returning to his throne, Alleluia!
still he calls us all his own. Alleluia!

4 Still for us he intercedes; Alleluia!
his atoning death he pleads, Alleluia!
near himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
he the firstfruits of our race. Alleluia!

5 There we shall with you remain, Alleluia!
partners of your endless reign, Alleluia!
see you with unclouded view, Alleluia!
find our heaven of heavens in you. Alleluia!

Text Information
First Line: Hail the day that sees him rise
Title: Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise
Author: Charles Wesley (1739)
Author: Thomas Cotterill (1820, alt.)
Meter: 77 77 with alleluias
Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-5; John 14:2; Acts 1:9; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 7; Romans 8; Acts 1
Topic: Intercession of Christ; Ascension & Reign of Christ; King, God/Christ as (1 more...)
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: LLANFAIR
Composer: Robert Williams (1817)
Meter: 77 77 with alleluias
Key: F Major


Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Acts 1:9-11
st. 2 = Ps. 24:7-10
st. 4 = Rom. 8:34, Heb. 7:25, John 14:2, 1 Cor. 15:20-23
st. 5 = 2 Tim. 2:12

Considered to be the most popular of all Ascension texts in English-language worship, "Hail the Day" was written by Charles Wesley (PHH 267) in ten stanzas and published in his Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739). Thomas Cotterill (b. Cannock, Staffordshire, England, 1779; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1823) altered the text and published his version in Selection of Psalms and Hymns (1820); the "alleluias" were added in George White's Hymns and Introits (1852). Included here with further alterations are original stanzas 1, 2, 4, 6, and 10.

"Hail the Day" sings out its "alleluias" for Christ's triumphal entry into glory after he accomplished his saving work on earth (st. 1-2) and for Christ's work of interceding and preparing a place for his people (st. 3-4). The text concludes by hailing the great day when we shall rule with Christ (st. 5).

Thomas Cotterill studied at St. John's College, Cambridge, England, and became an Anglican clergyman. A central figure in the dispute about the propriety of singing hymns, Cotterill published a popular collection of hymns (including many of his own as well as alterations of other hymns), Selection of Psalms and Hymns in 1810. But when he tried to introduce a later edition of this book in Sheffield in 1819, his congregation protested. Many believed strongly that the Church of England should maintain its tradition of exclusive psalm singing. In a church court the Archbishop of York and Cotterill reached a compromise: the later edition of Selection was withdrawn, and Cotterill was invited to submit a new edition for the archbishop's approval. The new edition was published in 1820 and approved as the first hymnal for the Anglican church of that region. Cotterill's suppressed book, however, set the pattern for Anglican hymnals for the next generation, and many of its hymns are still found in modern hymnals.

Liturgical Use:
Ascension; other services that emphasize Christ's reign.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

LLANFAIR is usually attributed to Welsh singer Robert Williams (b. Mynydd Ithel, Anglesey, Wales, 1781; d. Mynydd Ithel, 1821), whose manuscript, dated July 14, 1817, included the tune. Williams lived on the island of Anglesey. A basket weaver with great innate musical ability, Williams, who was blind, could write out a tune after hearing it just once. He sang hymns at public occasions and was a composer of hymn tunes.

LLANFAIR was first published with a harmonization by John Roberts in John Parry's Peroriaeth Hyfryd (Sweet Music) (1837). The tune has been associated with the Wesley/Cotterill text since its publication with the text in The English Hymnal (1906). LLANFAIR is actually a common Welsh name, but some scholars believe that in this case the tune's name refers to the Montgomery County village in Wales where Williams was born.

A rounded bar form (AABA) tune, LLANFAIR features the common Welsh device of building a melody on the tones of the tonic triad. The tune is in a major key (not all Welsh tunes are in minor keys!). The melismas give fitting shape to the "alleluias." Use brisk accompaniment for this cheerful tune. LLANFAIR has a similar pattern to that of EASTER HYMN (388); see suggestions there for antiphonal style performance.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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