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Blest are the pure in heart – Franconia

First line:
Blest are the pure in heart
adapted from a German tune
author of text
verses 1 & 3
author of text
verses 2 & 4, possibly by Edward Osler
author of text
verses 2 & 4, possibly by William John Hall

This apparently simply hymn has a complicated history, since two of its verses come from a poem by Keble for the Feast of the Purification and the others from the editors of the Mitre Hymn Book.

Keble had a brilliant academic career, broken only by spells assisting in his father’s parish of Fairford, Gloucestershire, in times of illness. In 1827 he published a book of poems, The Christian Year, which became immensely popular. He never wrote hymns, but some of his poems, as with this, have had verses selected for that purpose. In 1828 he was made head (Provost) of his Oxford college, Oriel. In 1833 he preached the Assize sermon in St Mary’s University Church on ‘National Apostacy’. This marked for Newman the beginning of the Oxford Movement which was to create such an upheaval in the Church of England and beyond. In 1836 he returned to parish life. He wrote much poetry and many books but none so successful as his first.

Havergal saw that a six-line tune in a German book of 1738 could be cut down and remoulded to make this perfect gem, that has been associated with these words since 1861.

from notes by Alan Luff © 2004


The English Hymn, Vol. 5 - Lead, kindly Light


Track 13 on CDP12105 [1'50]

Track-specific metadata for CDP12105 track 13

Recording date
13 November 2003
Recording venue
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. The English Hymn, Vol. 5 - Lead, kindly Light (CDP12105)
    Disc 1 Track 13
    Release date: August 2004
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