Mourn, mourn (William Billings)

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  • (Posted 2008-04-13)  CPDL #16601:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2008-04-13).   Score information: A4, 15 pages   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Includes a keyboard reduction of the a cappella choral score. Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: Mourn, mourn
Composer: William Billings

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1794 in The Continental Harmony
Description: An anthem for fast day, from "The Continental Harmony", 1794. In similar fashion to the other works in this publication, the key signature (in this case C minor) is printed at the beginning of only the first system. It is most probable that the concluding sections were intended by Billings to have been realised in C major. The point at which the change from minor to major key is effected is moot. The solution adopted in this edition is not the only plausible one.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Mourn, mourn, mourn, mourn,
Pharaoh and Ahab prevail in our Land.
Mourn, mourn, mourn, mourn,
Achans abound and trouble the Land.
Mourn, mourn, mourn, mourn,
Darkness and clouds of awful shade
hang pendant by a slender thread,
waiting commission from God, the upholder, to fall and distress us.
Great God, avert th'impending doom;
We plead no merit of our own;
For mercy, Lord, we cry.
Bow down thine ear to our complaints,
And hear from heav'n, thou king of saints;
O let thine aid be nigh.
Then will the Lord be jealous for his Land,
and pity his people, and say
"Behold, your Pharaohs and Achans and Ahabs are no more."
Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his People,
"Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil,
and ye shall be satisfied therewith."
Be glad then America, shout and rejoice.
Fear not, O Land, be glad and rejoice.
Hallelujah, praise the Lord.