Named for the composer's mother, MARION was composed by English ex-pat Arthur H. Messiter in 1883 during his 31-year tenure as organist and choirmaster of Trinity Church on New York's Wall Street. In Glory to God: A Companion, Carl Daw notes that the addition of the refrain is the particular genius behind Messiter's tune. The image conjured by Edward Plumptre's Rejoice, ye pure in heart is immediately one of a procession, which was the poet's intent: it was written in 1865 as a processional for a festival at Peterborough Cathedral. A procession of several choirs in such a setting would have required a lengthy text, and this was accordingly eleven verses. Today, the 'warriors in firm array' verses have been dropped in most hymnals, leaving a substantial and festal hymn, nonetheless. The very first verse recounts Your glorious banner wave on high, the cross of Christ your king, which equates the 'banners' of Psalm 25:5 with the (processional) cross of "Christ your King." Note Messiter's word painting, a melodic wave motion, at "Your glorious banners wave on high." There are few hymns with a such a strong claim to the Last Sunday after Pentecost (or of Ordinary Time) - the Feast of Christ the King.
Resources and references
Glory to God: A Companion - Carl P. Daw, Jr (Westminster John Knox Press), Amazon link
Music (Archives) - Trinity Wall Street website
Rejoice ye pure in heart - C. Michael Hawn, UMC Discipleship Ministries
Rejoice ye pure in heart
– Edward Plumptre 1865
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