Psalm 31 vv 9-16 to Aylesbury

This is the last of the metrical Psalms for this Lent. On Maundy Thursday we’ll be singing Psalm 22, right enough, but it will be a chanted version using the Common Worship text. The plan is to keep that very simple: two notes only, a minor third apart.

I wanted to use the opportunity to teach the choir (and expose the congregation) to another good tune that’s in the New English Hymnal but which we don’t seem to sing very much. It is perhaps a bit dreary for the repeated insistence of the response, “That thou, my God, art good and just, my soul with comfort knows,” but the repeated request to see God’s mercy fits it very well. Again, I wanted something relatively easy — there’s an awful lot going on already on Psalm Sunday, what with processions to the forest, palm crosses and so on.

I chose Brady and Tate’s “New Version” for this psalm portion not because I especially liked the text, but because the Scottish Psalter and Sternhold and Hopkins’ “Old Version” both seemed… well, awkward.

I’m sure that this verse from the Scottish Psalter:

When they me saw they from me fled.
Ev’n so I am forgot,
As men are out of mind when dead:
I’m like a broken pot.

would have some of my younger choristers in fits of giggles. The Old Version is only slightly better:

As men once dead are out of mind,
so am I now forgot;

As little use of me they find
as of a broken pot.

But still, on the whole, I thought it would be better to stick with the “shattered vessel” language, even if the rhyming is a bit strained:

Forsook by all am I,
as dead and out of mind;
And like a shattered vessel lie,
whose parts can ne’er be joined.

In any case, here is the response:

For a more complete picture there is a PDF file here.