Seek the Gentle Shepherd

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In the 1972 Hawai'ian Congregational (UCC) hymnal Na Himeni Haipule Hawaii, hymn number 18 begins "Imi i ke Kahu, Kahu alaka'i" and is subtitled in English "Seek the Gentle Shepherd". The text is credited to Laiana (Lorenzo Lyons), and the tune SEEK 6.5.6.5.6.5.7 with Ref. is credited to William W. Bentley, 1850. It seems to me likely that this is a Hawaiian translation of "Seek the gentle Shepherd, enter by the door", which DNAH shows two instances of, including one in Royal Songs, 1875, pub. American Tract Society. I am very much interested in seeing the entire text of this hymn, and also in knowing to what (and whose) tune it is set. It would be wonderful to have this information before our Shepherd Hymn-Sing on October 18th. Any and all assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Haruo


Comments

The author is given in DNAH as Kate Osborn, and the other and earlier instance is in The Welcome, 1873. (For some reason when I first searched for it, that instance would not open.) Laiana died in 1886, so it is not at all impossible that he might have translated the Osborn text and the Hawaiian hymnal committee simply didn't know to whom to ascribe it. I suppose it's also conceivable that Laiana wrote it originally in Hawaiian, and that Ms. Osborn translated it into English. It is after all roughly contemporaneous with, say, "Wakantanka taku nitawa", better known in its English version beginning "Many and great, O God, are thy things". Anyhow, I'd like to know more.

Haruo

Haruo,

I'll see if I can get a copy from one of the libraries in Ohio that has Royal Songs.

Tina

Seek the Gentle Shepherd can be found on pages 26-27 of the 1873 edition of The Welcome. It lists the author as Kittie Osborne and the composer as W. W. Bentley. It has only two verses with a refrain.

SEEK THE GENTLE SHEPHERD.
[Author:] Kittie Osborne.
[Composer:] W. W. Bentley.

1. Seek the gentle Shepherd,
Enter by the door;
All the fold is peaceful,
sin can come nomore;
You shall dwell in safety,
Neath His loving care,
Evil can not harm you there.

2. Seek the gentle Shepherd,
Ever kind and true,
Who is ever watching
Over me and you;
And He's gently calling,
Saying: "come to me!
Children, come, my love is free."

Refrain:

Seek the gentle Shepherd,
Come, Oh, why delay?
Seek the blessed Savior;
Come to Him today;
Seek the gentle Shepherd,
From Him never stray;
Come, Oh, come to Him today.

There was a hyphen between "no" and "more" but couldn't tell if it was meant to be one word (with the hyphen used as a spacer to put the syllables under the correct notes), a hyphenated word, or if the hyphen was just a typo or printer's error.

KenJ

Thanks, both. Tina has sent me a couple of PDFs from the Dayton Methodist seminary, presumably from Royal Songs of 1875. Ken's question of "no more / no-more / nomore" is not resolved, since the text for that line reads "Sheltered evermore"; indeed, there are enough other minor differences that I must give the whole text here. I'd be interested in knowing whether the substantive changes (v.1, l.4; v. 2 ll.3,4,6, and esp. 8) were made by Kate Osborne or by an editor (and if the latter, by whom):

95 SEEK THE GENTLE SHEPHERD.
[Author:] K. Osborne.
[Composer:] Wm. W. Bentley.
[Scripture:] Psa. 27:8.

1. Seek the gentle Shepherd,
Enter by the door;
All the fold is peaceful,
Sheltered evermore;
You shall dwell in safety,
’Neath His loving care,
Evil can not harm you there.

2. Seek the gentle Shepherd,
Ever kind and true,
Who is daily watching
Over me and you;
Hear him gently calling,
Saying: "come to me!
Come for pardon full and free."

Refrain:

Seek the gentle Shepherd,
Come, oh, why delay?
Seek the blessed Saviour;
Come to Him today;
Seek the gentle Shepherd,
From Him never stray;
Come, oh, come to Him today.

The tune given in the PDFs appears to be the same as the one in the Hawaiian hymnal. Since the earliest attestation I know of is 1873 (The Welcome), the one Ken cited, the question does arise where the Hawaiian editors got their "1850" date. I suppose that could be a birth date, but the way it's presented makes it look like the date of either composition or publication. The Cyber Hymnal's bio page just calls him "Late 19th century". Also, the Cyber Hymnal has a bio page for another contemporaneous person named "W. Warren Bentley", and I wonder if they were the same person, or relatives, or unrelated.

Haruo

So I went ahead and tried to add the information generated by this thread to the two instances involved, but there are obviously some things I still haven't quite figured out how to do. I'm not quite clear on why, if The Welcome says the author of the text was Kittie Osborne, and Royal Songs says it was K. Osborne, both instances in the DNAH showed it as Kate Osborn (sic). If one or more of the experts would be so kind as to check my work, and critique it here, I'd be grateful.

Haruo

The DNAH used standard author names.
These all need to be corrected to
match what is in the hymnal.

---------------
Harry Plantinga
CCEL Director

I think that means I did it right.

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