Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken

DESCRIPTION: "Glorious thing of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God. He whose word cannot be broken, Formed thee for his own abode." Hearers are reminded that God is an unshakable foundation. the source of living water, seen in cloud and fire
AUTHOR: Words; John Newton (1725-1807) / Music: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
EARLIEST DATE: 1779 (see Notes)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
REFERENCES (2 citations):
ADDITIONAL: Charles Johnson, One Hundred and One Famous Hymns (Hallberg, 1982), p, 51, "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken" (1 text, 1 tune)
Robert J. Morgan, _Then Sings My Soul, Book 2: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories_, Nelson, 2004, pp. 50-51, "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #7112
NOTES [307 words]: For background on John Newton, see the notes to "Amazing Grace." Morgan, p. 51, observes that Haydn's tune for this came to be used first at the Austrian and then as the German national anthem.
John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 427, has much to say of this text:
[First] pub[lished] in the Olney Hymns, 1779, B[oo]k i., No. 60, in 5 st[anzas] of 8 l[ines], and entitled, "Zion, or the City of God," Isa. xxxiii.20, 21. It has attained great popularity in all English-speaking countries, and ranks with the first hymns in the language. It is used, however, in various forms as follows:--
[I summarize the next section: 1. The original text. 2. An 1819 version based on stanzas i, ii, and v. 3. An 1852 version, rarely used, derived from stanzas i, iii, v. 4. An 1853 version based on stanzas i and ii, with an added doxology not by Newton; 5. A minor version rewritten in four line stanzas with the doxology of #4 and a new verse by I. G. Smith, producer of the whole mess; 6. A rewrite by J. Keble which used the doxology of #4 plus new words by Keble. 7. A version consisting of stanzas i, ii, iv, v. 8. A version consisting of stanzas i-iv with slight alteration.]
In the American collections the same diversity of use prevails as in G[reat] Britain. Sometimes the hymn is broken into two parts, with p[ar]t ii beginning, "Blest inhabitants of Zion." ... Stanzas i., ii., v., have been rendered into Latin by the Rev. R. Bingham, and included in his Hymno. Christ. Latina, 1871, "Dicta de te sunt miranda."
According to LindaJo H. McKim, Presbyterian Hymnal Companion, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993, pp. 286, 447, Haydn's tune is known as "Austrian Hymn" because it was written for the Habsburg (Austrian) Emperor's birthday in 1797. - RBW
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