Neighbors: Getting the rest of ‘Now the Day Is Over’ hymn
He sang the hymn "Now the Day Is Over" in the Boy Scouts many years ago. But now all Warren VanderLiden, Fergus Falls, Minn., could remember were the first and last verses, and so he wrote Neighbors, hoping you readers could help him out.
He sang the hymn “Now the Day Is Over” in the Boy Scouts many years ago. But now all Warren VanderLiden, Fergus Falls, Minn., could remember were the first and last verses, and so he wrote Neighbors, hoping you readers could help him out.
Boy, did you! And so, thanks to you, here are all the verses to this grand old hymn, followed by comments from some of you:
Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh; shadows of the evening steal across the sky.
Now the darkness gathers, stars begin to peep, birds and beasts and flowers soon will be asleep.
Jesus, give the weary calm and sweet repose; with Thy ten’drest blessing may mine eyelids close.
Grant to little children visions bright of Thee; guard the sailors tossing on the deep-blue sea.
Comfort every sufferer watching late in pain; those who plan some evil from their sin restrain.
Through the long night-watches may Thine angels spread their white wings above me, watching round my bed.
When the morning wakens, then may I arise pure and fresh and sinless in Thy holy eyes.
Glory to the Father, glory to the Son, and to Thee, blest Spirit, while all ages run.
The hymn is based on Proverbs 3:24.
Among those sending in all or some of the verses were Annetta Nies, Wahpeton, N.D.; Pam Younggren, Fargo; Shirley Strand, Hawley, Minn.; Rogna Hewitt, Moorhead; Diane Scheff, Fargo; Earl Hillstead, Hitterdal, Minn.; Janice Lee, Enderlin, N.D.; Pearl Wright, Fargo; Elaine Arnold, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Carol Ness, Pelican Rapids, Minn.; Phyllis Trostad, Aneta, N.D.; Phil Felde, Moorhead; Ivy Engh, Galchutt, N.D.; and Judith Hoeglund, Detroit Lakes, who found the hymn in a songbook, “Songs We Sing, copywrited in 1940. It belonged to her mother.
“I found copies of this song in both the hymnal we use now in church and in an older one,” Judy Coughlin, Fargo, writes.
Betty Johnson, Moorhead, said the song is in her Lutheran hymnal. Connie Nestoss, Fargo, also found it there, adding, “I remember the song well!”
Jeanne Kelly, Fargo, says the song is in “The Golden Book of Favorite Songs,” which, she adds, “is a favorite of mine from back in the ’40s and ’50s. (The song) has gorgeous four-part harmony. I seem to remember singing it at least once for a school program.”
Ruth Carlson, Ada, Minn., also found the hymn in the book Jeanne mentioned.
“In the ’30s,” Ruth writes, “I attended a rural school near Halstad, Minn. Music class was in the morning, but every once in a while somebody would ask to sing this lovely nighttime prayer.”
Rebecca Hauge, Fargo, found the song in her two Concordia hymnals printed by the Augsburg Publishing House, one in 1927, the other in 1932, as well as in “Worship and Song,” published in 1921 by Pilgrims Press.
Eric Bollingberg found the hymn in the old American Lutheran Church hymnal which, he says, is “affectionately titled ‘Service Book and Hymnal.’”
Eric grew up near Bremen, N.D., attended Concordia College and North Dakota State University, lived for a few years in Dunseith and Towner, and now, he writes, “I am back home living 4½ miles west of the family farm just outside of Hamberg, N.D., which makes my mailing address Fessenden; oh, how I miss the little towns and post offices of yesteryear!”
Well, “Now the Day Is Over” is a “very familiar hymn to most Lutherans, Janet Hansen, Lisbon, N.D., writes.
Janet, who is a writer for the Ransom County Gazette in Lisbon, also is the organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisbon. Its hymnal includes the hymn with six verses. “I remember singing it as a child and it had eight verses,” she says.
Janet also says the hymn was written by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, who lived from 1834 to 1924. He was an English Anglican preset, novelist and school teacher but is most often remembered as a hymn writer. His most famous songs, she writes, were “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Now the Day Is Over” which, she writes is most commonly sung to the hymn tune “Merrial” by Joseph Barnby (1838-1896).
So there, Warren, is your grand old hymn and its history, thanks to all these Forum readers.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email firstname.lastname@example.org