He also adds some reflections of his own on it, which I include after the Preface, and also the Contents page, for purposes of comparison.
(In case you have been too indolent over Christmas to follow the story so far, the previous posts here, about PRAISE THE LORD, 1966, and here about the original preface to the Westminster Hymnal, 1912, are relevant).
THE MOST REV. DAVID MATHEW
The revised Westminster Hymnal is intended to contain a representative selection of the body of Catholic hymn-writing in English. In the view of the Committee appointed after the Low Week meeting of the Hierarchy in 1936 the norm of a Catholic hymn is the ancient Office hymn of the Church. This view has guided the Committee in their choice. The late Sir Richard Terry was in process of forming a collection of melodies in preparation for the book. This collection has been completed and edited by the Rev. W. S. Bainbridge, and it is hoped that both words and music will help to raise the standard of Catholic vernacular hymns.
Care has been taken in regard to the translations from the Latin. Many of these versions have been amended or replaced and the Committee considered that there was no objection in principle to the occasional use of a non-Catholic translation when this possessed outstanding merit. The encouragement which the Holy See has given to the development of the liturgical spirit among the laity was borne in mind in the choice of hymns. At the same time it is hoped that this new edition will be considered to include a truly representative selection of popular Catholic hymnology.
Among the hymns chosen a few are of Mediaeval English provenance, like the Veni Sancte Spiritus ascribed to Cardinal Langton and the Ave vivens hostia of Archbishop Peckham. It is fitting to begin with the acknowledgement of this debt to the See of Canterbury in the Catholic ages. William Dunbar's Christmas hymn represents the last years of the unbroken Catholic life, and among the Elizabethan writers who are included stand two martyred Beati, the Earl of Arundel and Robert Southwell. Verstegan represents the exiles of the end of the Elizabethan time and Sir John Beaumont stands here for the later Jacobean Catholic world. Crucial in the development of the English Catholic literary tradition is Jerusalem, my happy home, attributed to Laurence Anderton, alias BrereIy. In this hymn there breathes the tough, quick gaiety of the driven generations and their assurance of spiritual victory.
A very different spirit enters with the work of the Caroline converts Richard Crashaw and John Austin. They form a preparation for those hymns over which there hangs the name and touch of Dryden. The closing years of the seventeenth century are marked by Blount's translation of the Vexilla Regis.
The hymns included from the Primer of 1706 reflect, very soberly the integrity of the old Catholic spirit, so determined and yet terrestrially so unhopeful. In this connection it, is worth noting that the translation of O filii et filiae, which was first published in the evening office of 1748, does not in any way suggest the mood of Bishop Challoner. It is too faithful to the letter of the Latin original. The last hymn from the generations which grew up before Emancipation is that for the Vespers of the feast of St Michael and All Angels, which mirrors the confident, staunch faith of Provost Husenbeth.
It is always surprising to recollect that the first of modern English Catholic hymns, Hail, Queen of Heaven, the Ocean star, should have been composed so long ago by Dr Lingard. Coming next to this work in time is Cardinal Wiseman’s paean Full in the panting heart of Rome, with which he ushered in the rather different hymns of the convert Tractarian clergy. Among these Cardinal Newman and Canon Oakeley were the senior. It is curious that Faber, Caswall, Aubrey de Vere and Campbell should all have been born in the same year. Bishop Chadwick, who represented the old Catholic writing, and Fr. Aylward, the Dominican translator of the Lauda Sion, were a few months older. Exigencies of space have forbidden the present compilers to make a wider selection from Fr. Faber and Fr. Caswall, who have left upon so much of Catholic hymn-writing the imprint of their thought and metaphor. Under another aspect the translation of Dem Herzen Jesu Singe, by Fr Albany Christie S.J., was very typical of the taste of just this period.
With Gerard Manley Hopkins' translation of the Adoro te and that solitary hymn of Digby Mackwork Dolben we reach an approach which is very much more modern. But all the warmth of one school of one school of Tractarian converts comes through in Lady Catherine Petre's simple verses. The hymns of the next period are familiar to every Catholic childhood, Daily daily, sing to Mary, and Fr. Vaughan's God of mercy and compassion, and Fr. Stanfield’s Sweet Sacrament divine. Those who join the Church in later life find this range of hymns quite strange to them. At the same time, the feeling and manner of J. M. Neale's Jerusalem the golden, With milk and honey blest, which is included in this edition, is at least equally alien to those who have been reared in the atmosphere of the homely Catholic services of the last fifty years, with their loud and draughty singing.
It is, perhaps, invidious to refer to living authors, but no student of this book can fail to realize the great debt that it owes to Monsignor Knox. From among the work of Catholic writers who have died within this century there are hymns by Francis Thompson, Gilbert Chesterton, Lionel Johnson and Canon Gray, and by the authors who wrote under the pen name of Michael Field. A hymn with an
Interesting background is that translated by Catherine Winkworth from the original of Johann Schleffer, Angelus Silesius. It is our hope that the supplement of Latin hymns will be welcomed. The constant and so varied translations from Latin liturgical sources throw a light upon the backbone of our Catholic tradition. A clear and consistent unity marks the whole body of catholic hymnology. Native and redolent of the soil, yet so influenced in their style by changing taste, there was one factor constant in these writers. Serene or didactic, unflinching or flamboyant, they were all faithful to the See of Rome.
+ DAVID MATHEW
Ttony comments as follows:
Two things stand out (to me at least): the structural unity with the 1912 edition (contents attached) and the continuing expectation that hymns are not part of Mass.
The preface is remarkable in the way it explains the chronology of the hymns, adding an extra dimension to the understanding of anybody who reads it. The compare and contrast between Jerusalem the Golden and Sweet Sacrament divine is really interesting as well: we think of a difference between Anglicanism and Catholicism that Catholics don't sing, but still, in 1960, Catholics did sing, but sang different hymns. The key is in the expression "the atmosphere of the homely Catholic services of the last fifty years, with their loud and draughty singing": whatever "draughty" means in this context, I know what "loud" means. (And I can't believe that the Bishop meant Mass when he talks about "homely Catholic services": he means Parish Benedictions, Novenas, Holy Hours, Mens' Confraternity, Children of Mary etc.)
NB that Mgr Knox was brought in to improve the translations from the Latin: not to cast them out because they were of dubious merit.