Two descant scores: "Come thou long-expected Jesus", and Timothy Dudley-Smith's "Child of Mary, softly sleeping."
This annually expected, regularly awaited hymn is a calendrical milestone, marking the First Sunday of Advent for wide number of parishes. Though written for a Christmas collection Charles Wesley (Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, 1744) this longing petition has a more natural home as an introit for Advent. As Carl Daw notes in Glory to God: A Companion:
"Despite the four appearances of 'born' here, this is not so much a text about the Nativity as it is about Incarnation. The details of birth are never mentioned: no manger, no shepherds, no angels."
Though sometimes set to HYFRYDOL, comprising two verses, the understated elegance of STUTTGART is perfectly matched to the anticipatory nature of Wesley's prose, rendering it in four verses. The tune has been adapted several times from its original 1715 publication, with meter and notation adjusted to 22.214.171.124 from different forms and rhythms. The tune has nothing whatsoever to do with the city for which it was named.
The hymn Child of Mary, softly sleeping is by Timothy Dudley-Smith, and circulated on one of his Christmas cards. Note that use of this text requires a standard license from Hope Publishing.
Resources and references
Hymn expresses longing for arrival of our Savior - C. Michael Hawn, History of Hymns (UMC Discipleship Ministries)
Glory to God: A Companion - Carl P. Daw, Jr (Westminster John Knox Press), Amazon link
1. Come thou long-expected Jesus
–Charles Wesley, 1744
2. Child of Mary, softly sleeping
– Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith © 2007 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Printing, photocopying, and/or sharing additional copies requires a license from CCLI, OneLicense.net, or Hope Publishing Company
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