Irish Papist

Irish Papist
Statute of the Blessed Virgin in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Church, UCD Belfield

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I Have Fought the Good Fight: A Hymn



For some years now I have been meaning to write hymns. For two main reasons; because I dislike the quality of contemporary hymns so much, and because if one succeeds in writing a good hymn it might be something that endures. I've only written a few. I was privileged to have one performed in my local church, set to music by another parishioner.

Tonight I tried my hand again and something came to me very quickly. I realise it is rather Victorian in terms of diction and inversions, and I don't care-- in fact, it's intentional. But mostly I wanted to write something stirring, in contrast to all the wishy-washy hymns I've sat through. It is based on St. Paul's second letter to Timothy. Anyone who wants to set it to music is very welcome!

(I have even included Oxford commas to please their enthusiasts.)

Incidentally, this is my thousandth post on this blog!

I Have Fought the Good Fight

The mighty apostle St. Paul wrote this
To Timothy, son of his spirit:
I am leaving you for an unending bliss
A glorious crown to inherit.
I have preached the Lord Jesus in every place
I have walked the path narrow and straight.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
And I have kept the faith.

And I have kept the faith
And I have kept the faith
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
And I have kept the faith.

Five times I received forty lashes but one
Three times I was beaten with rods
I was stoned, I was shipwrecked, and all but undone
By the priests of idolatrous gods
But I care not for dungeons or death or disgrace
When the prize I pursue is so great.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
And I have kept the faith.

And I have kept the faith
And I have kept the faith
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race
And I have kept the faith.

Like a drink to my Master my life has been poured,
My mission I pass on to you.
In season and out, preach the word of the Lord,
Though men cry for all that is new.
And many the torment and threat you must face
To fill an apostle’s estate.
You must fight the good fight, you must finish the race,
And you must keep the faith.

For you must keep the faith
For you must keep the faith
You must fight the good fight, you must finish the race,
And you must keep the faith.

7 comments:

  1. I love it!! I wish I was musical and I would set it to music.
    I really like your positive attitude to the faith, perhaps you could do another hymn based on St Paul's letter about being surrounded on all sides but never defeated. I am sure you know the one I mean. I think it would be another morale booser.

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  2. I didn't want to go as anonymous but it wouldn't let me post in openID or nameURL

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    1. Sorry, sir (or madam). I often have trouble posting comments on blogs myself.

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I posted this on Facebook but there was very little response so it's nice to get some good response. I do know the passage you refer to (though I couldn't tell you what letter it's in), and I think it's a great subject for a hymn-- I might get to it myself indeed!

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  3. You are very welcome I really enjoy your blog. I am a woman btw

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  4. This is exactly the sort of hymn we need... just the right New-Evangelisation sort of mood, and words you can get your teeth into. And it is a poem in its own right.

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    1. Thanks Dominic! I was very pleased with it and then felt a bit downcast since I didn't think other people liked it so much (although I don't know why, since two comments here and a few responses on Facebook have all been positive). But I am very glad you especially liked it!

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    2. You're welcome! I forgot to congratulate you on your thousandth post. Here's to the next thousand) if that doesn't sound too daunting...

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