Sounding ChildhoodMain Menu30 Selections from the Top Ranking Hymns for ChildrenAlphabetical Index of Hymn TitlesScoresRecordingsTimelineCreditsCredits, Permissions and CopyrightWorks CitedRehearsal VideosPart 2--Victorian Secular SongsAlisa Clapp-ItnyreAlisa Clapp-Itnyre ea81b58f96dc50ac6f0312cb8dfd4bbc7d5bfddcSOUNDING VICTORIAN Project 2016
There is a happy land
12017-06-23T17:37:48+00:00Donal Hegartyd91ac6951fc09687a65f62d6a62eb9d3c37c260311Scores from: The Methodist Sunday-School Hymn and Tune-Book. London: Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union, 1879. Print.plain2017-06-23T17:37:48+00:00Donal Hegartyd91ac6951fc09687a65f62d6a62eb9d3c37c2603
12017-06-23T18:44:12+00:00There is a happy land4plain2017-07-13T16:46:00+00:00“There is a happy land” was written by Andrew Young (1843), a teacher in Scotland, who based it on a rhythmic “Indian air” called “Happy Land” which he happened to hear played on the piano by a friend. His hymn was to be used in his own Edinburgh school, but he then allowed Rev. James Gall to publish it in Sacred Song Book (1843). According to hymnologist John Julian, it was “heard in Sunday Schools all over the world,” having been translated by various missionary organizations (A Dictionary of Hymnology 1161). In dactylic dimeter and a 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 hymn meter, its rhythm carries the lines, as do the unusual rhyme scheme (ABABCCCB) and refrains that punch the meaning. The second stanza especially invokes the reader to “Come to this happy land” and questions “Why will ye doubting stand?” The third stanza reminds the singer, “Bright is that happy land […] Love cannot die.” By the conclusion, the narrator encourages his readers through the rhetoric of a competitive race: “On, then, to glory run,/ Be a crown and kingdom won” (v. 3). The tune (labelled “Happy Land”) may be the most appealing aspect of this hymn, created by its use of two simple, repeated, yet invigorating melodic phrases.
More discussion of this hymn can be found in Chapter 6 in British Hymn Books for Children.
“There is a happy time” is a take-off of the hymn “There is a happy land” by the Bands of Hope to educate children about temperance. Temperance, or abstaining from alcoholic drink, was an enormously important issue during the 19th century and children were considered vital in two ways: to teach temperance at the youngest ages, and, two, to carry weight with the adults in their own lives. In 1847 the first society was established to cater specifically to children: the Band of Hope as founded by the Leeds Temperance Society under the leadership of Rev. Jabez Tunnicliff and Mrs. Anne Jane Carlile. The idea spread and by the end of the century, the Band of Hope organizations could boast three million members. If the original hymn “There is a happy land” reads “far, far away/ Where saints in glory stand/ Bright, bright as day”—a song about heaven—the take-off revels in a time when “temp’rance truth shall shine/ bright, bright as day” and, rather than urging singers to “come to this happy land…from sin and sorrow free,” this song urges the “temp’rance band” to “come, come away… from the danger flee,” clearly marking the sin to be that of the “demon drink.” The same spritely tune about heaven inspires action from its youthful singers now.
More discussion on this song can be found in Chapter 5, British Hymn Books for Children.