Comfort ye my people (John Hawkins)

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  • (Posted 2023-03-09)  CPDL #72983:         
Editor: Edmund Gooch (submitted 2023-03-09).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 87 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: The allocation of the soprano and tenor parts is not specified in the source, although the third line down is specified as 'Air' at the start of this and other pieces in the book, and the 'Air' and bass parts are bracketed together. Given the prevalence throughout the book of passages in parallel thirds in the topmost line (either unaccompanied, or with bass accompaniment only), that line has been treated here as the soprano part, and the air as the tenor part. All three upper parts are printed in the source in the treble clef, with the alto printed an octave above sounding pitch: it has been given here at the sounding pitch. The voicing of the solo vocal line at bars 40-55 is similarly not specified in the source.
The vocal bass part is figured in the opening and concluding chorus sections in the source (although the instrumental bass is not figured in bars 40-55): the figuring has been omitted from this edition.
The opening and concluding duple-time choruses, given here as alla breve, are printed with a retorted time signature in the source.
Dynamics are printed as PIA: and FOR: between the second and third staves down in the source: they have been given in the usual manner here, in all four parts.
The minim rest in the first half of bar 56 has been added editorially, to accommodate the repeat of the concluding chorus more easily: in the source, this repeat is marked, but bar 56 contains the sung minim (as given here on beat 2 of this bar) only.

General Information

Title: Comfort ye my people
Composer: John Hawkins
Source of text: adapted from Isaiah 40:1, Luke 2:11, Luke 1:33, Isaiah 40:11
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredAnthem

Language: English
Instruments: Unspecified bass instrument accompanying a solo section: otherwise, instruments may double the voice parts

First published: 1812 in A New Set of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, p. 52
Description: This anthem is described in John Hawkins' A New Set of Psalm and Hymn Tunes as 'ANTHEM FOR CHRISTMAS'. In addition to this published source, versions of the anthem occur in a manuscript collection from Otterton in Devon (Devon Heritage Centre, ref. 2423A/PR/12), the manuscript of Edward Quayle of the Isle of Man (see The Promised Land: Country Anthems from the Collection of Edward Quayle, ed. Fenella Bazin, Liverpool: 2000), and the manuscript book of John & Robert Wharton of Coniston (see the recording A Different Lore: The Antient Psalmody of Cumbria by the Lancaster choir The Gladly Solemn Sound, 2018).

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Comfort ye my people, saith your God.
For unto us this day is born a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
He shall reign for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Salvation and glory ascribe we to our God: for he hath redeemed his people.
Glory to God, hallelujah.