The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Race That Long In Darkness Pined

Alternate Title: The Prince of Peace

For Christmas

Words: John Morison (1749-1798), from Scottish Paraphrases, 1781

Compare: The People That In Darkness Sat
and The People That In Darkness Walked

(Both adaptations of this hymn)

Music: Dundee,
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Alternate tunes: St. Leonard (Smart), Henry Thomas Smart, 1867
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Meter: 86. 86. (CM)

Source: Douglas J. Maclagan, ed., The Scottish Paraphrases (Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot, 1889), Paraphrase XIX, pp. 84-85.

Isaiah 9:2-8

1. The race that long in darkness pin'ed
have seen a glorious light;
The people dwell in day who dwelt
in Death’s surrounding night.

2. To hail thy rise, thou better Sun!
the gath’ring nations come,
Joyous, as when the reapers bear
the harvest-treasures home.

3. For thou our burden hast remov’d,
and quell'd th’ oppressor’s sway;
Quick as the slaugh'tered squadrons fell
in Midian’s evil day.

4. To us a Child of hope is born;
to us a Son is giv’n;
Him shall the tribes of earth obey,
him, all the hosts of heav’n.

5. His name shall be the Prince of Peace,
for evermore ador'd,
The Wonderful, the Counsellor,
the great and mighty Lord.

6. His pow’r increasing still shall spread;
his reign no end shall know;
Justice shall guard his throne above,
and peace abound below.

Note in Text:

John Morison, D.D. By some this paraphrase has been attributed to Watts, but always with the note altered by Morison. This mistake has arisen from the slight resemblance between Morison's hymn and one by Watts....”

Editor's Note:

The hymn in question is “The Lands That Long In Darkness Lay,” which is given on p. 85 of Scottish Paraphrases, 1889, in five verses. The basis was Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7. Attribution is to “Watts. Book I., Hymn 13.” The subtitle was “The Son of God incarnate, Or, The titles and the kingdom of Christ."

There is a biography of Dr. Morison at pp. 42-44, with four additional paraphrases by Dr. Morison. This volume contains reprints of the editions of 1745, 1751, and 1781, with notes regarding authorship or source, and reprints of the hymns or poems from which the Paraphrases have been adopted.

This hymn is often found in five verses, the third commonly omitted.

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The Race That Long In Darkness Pined - Dundee

The Race That Long In Darkness Pined - St. Leonard By Smart

The Race That Long In Darkness Pined - Dumfermline

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