Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Advent 2009: “Sing the Sweet and Touching Story,” Emmeline B. Wells, George Careless

Advent 2009: “Sing the Sweet and Touching Story,” Emmeline B. Wells, George Careless

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 09, 2009

Emmeline B. Wells (1828-1921) served for 22 years as general secretary to the Relief Society, and for 11 years (including during the world war) as its general president. She was the woman whom Brigham Young approached in 1876 with the commission for the Relief Society to store wheat, a task she faithfully promoted to the blessing of many thousands. She promoted woman suffrage, edited the Woman’s Exponent, wrote poetry and prose, and was reportedly the first Utah woman to be awarded an honorary degree (in literature, from BYU).

George Careless (1839-1932) had taught himself as a child to play the violin, and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He was becoming such a successful musician in London that he was urged by his church leaders to emigrate to Deseret in 1864 before he became so successful that he would not want to leave. Once in Utah, he assumed leadership of the fledgling Tabernacle Choir. He held that post for 11 years, and served many years thereafter on the church’s music committee. Several of his compositions, including the music for “The Morning Breaks, the Shadows Flee” and “He Died! The Great Redeemer Died,” are staples of our hymnbook today.

This scan of “Sing the Sweet and Touching Story” came from the 1927 Latter-day Saints Psalmody; it was published in other LDS hymnals and in Primary and Relief Society songbooks as well.

Sing the sweet and touching story,
Of the babe in Bethl’hem born;
How the morning star with glory
Lighted that auspicious morn,
Lighted that auspicious morn.

What more beautiful and tender
Than the blessed Saviour’s birth?
Cradled in a lowly manger
Was the King of all the earth,
Was the King of all the earth.

Birds had nests, the foxes roaming
Had their refuge free from care;
Jesus had no safe abiding –
Homeless pilgrim ev’rywhere,
Homeless pilgrim ev’rywhere.

Come to do His Father’s bidding,
Fresh from brilliant courts on high,
Holy missions thus fulfilling –
Here to suffer and to die,
Here to suffer and to die.

Now for us He’s interceding
In bright mansions up above,
“Father, guide them,” thus He’s pleading,
“Save them thro’ redeeming love,”
“Save them thro’ redeeming love.”


1 Comment »

  1. I’m very pleased to see some more poetry from Emmeline Wells. Her “Our Mountain Home So Dear” in the current LDS Hymnal keeps Sister Eliza company — but it would be nice to see more of her stuff. Thanks for this. A nice text.

    As for the music, it’s all right, but not a particularly memorable tune. Ironically, I think Wells’ poem fits nicer with another of George Careless’ tunes — O Thou Kind and Gracious Father (No. 150, Hymns) (hymn tune here).

    Comment by Hunter — November 9, 2009 @ 11:26 am

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI