Modern Setting (Tune) of William Cowper's Hymn
"Sometimes a Light Surprises the Christian While He Sings"

I noticed that this song is not in Songs of Fellowship, nor is it even in the Praise! hymnal. On closer inspection, the old words are a bit fossilised.

However, it is well worth resurrecting, this Easter. I happened to notice that the operatic aria O Mio Babbino Caro (O my Dearest Daddy, by Puccini) fits the words quite well. The metre is 76 76 76 76 (when sung to the traditional tune, Bentley). O Mio Babbino Caro easily fits 76 76 76 76 76 if the last two lines are repeated. Since the last two lines in each verse are the main point, this seems appropriate.

1. Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises
With healing in his wings;
When joys begin to decline,
He grants the soul again
A season of bright sun-shine,
To cheer it after rain.

2. In holy contemplation,
We joyfully then pursue
The theme of God's salvation,
And find it ever new:
Set free from present sorrow,
We cheerfully can say:
We'll let unknown tomorrow
Bring with it what it may

3. It can bring with it nothing
But he will bear us through;
God gives the lilies clothing,
And clothes his people too:
Beneath the spreading heavens,
All creatures there are fed;
And he who feeds the ravens,
Will give his children bread.

4. Though neither vine nor fig-tree
Their longed-for fruit shall bear,
Though all the crops should wither,
No flocks no herds be there:
Yet God for ever unchanging,
His praise shall tune my voice;
For while in him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice.

William Cowper, 1779 (altd.)

In order to make sure that Cowper's (pronounced Cooper BTW) wonderful words are not lost to modern congregations, the following setting is offered freely.

Here is the modern, but metrical setting for piano of 'OMio Babbino Caro' 76.76.76.76.76 (with guitar chords) Feel free to download it and use it, but do not alter it. Copyright David W. Legg 2008.

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