Today, September 29th, is the feast of St. Michael and All Angels.
Michaelmas, also known as the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels) is a Christian festival observed in Western liturgical calendars on 29 September.
In Christian angelology, the Archangel Michael is the greatest of all the angels and is honored for defeating Lucifer in the war in heaven.
The hymn-tune heard here is named "Solothurn". It is a traditional Swiss melody.
The text is by the Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866). Neale was strongly high church in his sympathies, and had to endure a good deal of opposition, including a fourteen years' inhibition by his bishop. Neale translated the Eastern liturgies into English, and wrote a mystical and devotional commentary on the Psalms. However, he is best known as a hymnwriter and, especially, translator, having enriched English hymnody with many ancient and mediaeval hymns translated from Latin and Greek.
This text is a gentle, happy text, not like many of the more "militant" texts depicting the angels as warriors of God.
There is one full measure of introduction.
Around the throne of God a band
Of glorious angels ever stand;
Bright things they see, sweet harps they hold,
And on their heads are crowns of gold.
Some wait around him, ready still
To sing his praise and do his will,
And some when he commands them, go
To guard his servants here below.
Lord, give thy angels every day
Command to guide us on our way,
And bid them every evening keep
Their watch around us while we sleep.
So shall no evil thing draw near,
To do us harm or cause us fear;
And we shall dwell when life is past,
With angels round thy throne at last.
The score, a 12th century tapestry showing St. Michael slaying the dragon, and a photo John Mason Neale are attached below.
The next piece in the Vincent collection is "Nocturne des Anges," & I hope to have the angel nocturne later!