Heath Old Boys Association


Memories


Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing

I had a memory from my time at Heath of singing a hymn at the first assembly of every term, whose last line was:

Those returning,
Make more faithful than before.

We sang this hymn to the tune of ‘Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven.’

Recently I was wondering whether this hymn could possibly have been written by a member of staff, specially for use by the school. However, a friend directed me to the old Hymns, Ancient and Modern, where there is a section entitled ‘For School and College Use.’ Here, hymn 458, St. Raphael, End of Term, I found, ‘Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing,’ the very hymn. Some of the lines now sound deliciously ironic.

Help us selfish lures to flee

or impossibly idealistic

Seek we ever
Knowledge pure and love unfeigned.

Even better, on the facing page, is a hymn for the beginning of term, no. 457. I have no specific memory of singing this at school. But the words seem so familiar that I can only assume that we sang this on the first day of term,

Lord, behold us with thy blessing,
Once again assembled here.

Again, the irony

Safe from sloth and sensual snare.

Would that we had taken note. Nevertheless these are moving hymns which I doubt are much sung today. But did every school in the country sing them half a century ago? The author of these Victorian masterpieces was one H.J. Bucknoll, about whom I know nothing. Any offers?

Rod Eastwood [1954–1961]

The following are the full texts of the relevant hymns.

Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing

Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing,
Thanks for mercies past receive;
Pardon all, their faults confessing;
Time that’s lost may all retrieve;
May Thy children
Ne’er again Thy Spirit grieve.

Bless Thou all our days of leisure;
Help us selfish lures to flee;
Sanctify our every pleasure;
Pure and blameless may it be;
May our gladness
Draw us evermore to Thee.

By Thy kindly influence cherish
All the good we here have gained;
May all taint of evil perish
By Thy mightier power restrained;
Seek we ever
Knowledge pure and love unfeigned.

Let Thy father-hand be shielding
All who here shall meet no more;
May their seed-time past be yielding
Year by year a richer store;
Those returning,
Make more faithful than before.

Lord, behold us with Thy blessing

Lord, behold us with Thy blessing
Once again assembled here;
Onward be our footsteps pressing
In Thy love, and faith, and fear;
Still protect us
By Thy presence ever near.

For Thy mercy we adore Thee,
For this rest upon our way;
Lord, again we bow before Thee,
Speed our labours day by day;
Mind and spirit
With Thy choicest gifts array.

Keep the spell of home affection
Still alive in every heart;
May its power, with mild direction,
Draw our love from self apart,
Till Thy children
Feel that Thou their Father art.

Break temptation’s fatal power,
Shielding all with guardian care,
Safe in every careless hour,
Safe from sloth and sensual snare;
Thou, our Saviour,
Still our failing strength repair.