I sometimes joke – or maybe it isn’t a joke – that if any of my friends ever find me lying in the street, freshly hit by a truck, they should rescue my computer and only then call 911. First things first, you know. This little laptop is stuffed with so many good things, documents and images and data that could never be reconstructed, so much good stuff that even with a fairly good indexing system I can’t keep track of what’s on it.
Just over a year ago, a Keepa post, Oh, WHOSE Mother?, discussed this poem and its authorship:
O My Mother, thou that dwellest,
In thy mansions up on high,
Oft I think that I remember
How you bade your child goodbye.
How you pressed me to your bosom,
Bade me a true son to be,
Ere I left my home eternal,
To accept mortality.
How you gave me words of counsel,
Guides to help my straying feet:
How you taught by true example
All of Father’s laws to keep.
While I strive in this probation,
Well to live the Gospel truth,
May I merit your approval
As I did in early youth.
‘Tis recorded in your journal
How you stood by Father’s side,
When by power real, eternal,
Thou wast sealed a goddess bride.
When through love and truth and virtue,
Ere in time thou didst become,
In your high exalted station,
Mother of the souls of men.
When of evil I’ve repented,
And my work on earth is done,
Dearest Mother, loving Father,
Pray forgive your erring son.
When my pilgrimage is ended,
And the victor’s wreath I’ve won,
Dearest Mother, to your bosom,
Will you welcome back your son?
That post was sparked because I had run across a 1919 publication of the poem in the Millennial Star. During the course of investigating its authorship, I discovered that the poem’s apparent first publication was in 1892, in the Juvenile Instructor, where the author was identified as William C. Harrison. Despite other claims to authorship, I concluded that the author probably was Brother Harrison.
Well, this week I discovered that hiding in a corner of my laptop was a scan I had already made from the original Juvenile Instructor publication:
(The 1919 words printed at the top of this post are slightly different from the original 1892 words shown on the scan here, and smooth out a few rough places in the original.)
Then I discovered that not only had I forgotten I had that printed music, I had also forgotten that months earlier, Keepa’s own Phantom, who had recorded all our 2009 Advent Christmas music as well as some other wonderful Mormon musical relics for sharing on the blog, had recorded this song for us as well!
So now, a year after first posting that interesting and – I think – quite lovely hymn to Our Mother in Heaven, we can enjoy and even sing this bit of Mormon musical history. Ladies and gentlemen, the Phantom: