Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 11. Lord of All Being Throned Afar

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXVI. Patriotic Songs and Hymns

§ 11. Lord of All Being Throned Afar

Holmes’s Sun-Day Hymn, better known as Lord of All Being Throned Afar (1859), is very properly described by one hymnologist as “always a favourite in gatherings … of different denominations and creeds” since it “admits of the widest doctrinal divergencies.” The Professor at the Breakfast Table composed with this intent, prefacing his hymn with the hope that men would “forget for the moment the difference in the hues of truth we look at through our human prisms, and join in singing (inwardly) this hymn to the Source of the light we all need to lead us, and the warmth which alone can make us all brothers.” And his hope has been more than fulfilled, for the hymn has not only found its adequate melody, but has transformed “Louvan” from the utterly saccharine thing it was when set to Bowring’s How Sweetly Flowed the Gospel Sound. The Sun-Day Hymn belongs to the slender anthology of sacred songs that are indubitable poetry.