“A Temple Hymn” is the name chosen by George Manwaring for a poem he wrote celebrating the near-simultaneous 1877 dedication of the St. George Temple and announcement of the temple to be built in Logan.

We want to see the temple
With towers rising high,
Its spires majestic pointing
Unto the clear blue sky;
A house where Saints may gather,
And richest blessings gain,
Where Jesus, our Redeemer,
A dwelling may obtain.

We want to meet the Savior,
And see Him face to face,
When He shall come in glory
Unto that holy place;
If we are true and faithful
We’ll hear our Savior’s voice,
Receive a Father’s blessing,
And in His love rejoice.

George Manwaring (1854-1889) was an English-born poet who emigrated to Utah when he was 17, settling in the Utah Valley community of Springville. He was a sort of jack-of-all-arts – besides composing poetry, he sang in the choir, taught himself to play the organ, and studied painting under John Hafen. Five of his hymns remain in our book today: “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer (Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning),” “’Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love,” “We Meet Again in Sabbath School,” “Lord, We Ask Thee Ere We Part,” and “Sing We Now at Parting.”  Maybe it is fitting that wrote two “parting” hymns – George Manwaring died at age 35, leaving two wives and eight children (three other children predeceased him).

“A Temple Hymn” enjoyed some popularity at the end of the 19th century, according to George D. Pyper, one of the earliest scholars of Mormon hymnology. I have not found it published in any church hymn or song book (my search hasn’t been exhaustive, though, and I’m cheerfully open to correction). [edited:] “A Temple Hymn” was usually sung to the tune used 40 years earlier as the setting  for the child’s song “I want to be an Angel, and with the angels stand, a crown upon my forehead, a harp within my hand,” a text written by Mrs. Sydney P. Gill of Philadelphia. Because “I want to be an angel” is used widely in Christendom, perhaps a Keepa reader can link to a recording of the tune; I found this printed music:

So … If you’re looking for something “new” to sing with your family or your Primary, here’s a piece of your heritage.

Continue reading at the original source →