Hymn #289: Come Forth, O Love Divine

Bianco da Siena (d. c. 1434) wrote these words as part of a sixty-line poem that began "Discendi, amor santi" in the people's Latin of the thirteenth century.  The translation from the People's Hymnal (1867) is by Richard F. Littledale (1833-1890), an Anglican clergyman and Scholar who published some fifty works.

Bianco da Siena joined a newly founded religious order of men in 1367 to follow the rule of Saint Augustine.  He lived in Venice, Italy, and probably died there in 1434.  His hymns were published four hundred years after his death in Laudi Spirituali, meaning "spiritual songs."

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) wrote the tune DOWN AMPNEY in 1906 for The English Hymnal.  The title refers to the composer's birthplace in Gloucestershire, England.  It has been praised as "perhaps the most beautiful tune composed since OLD HUNDREDTH."

Ralph Vaughan Williams enlisted at age forty-one as an orderly in the Royal Army Medical Corps when World War I began and served the entire war.  During World War II, he contributed greatly to relief projects and organized musical concerts for service personnel.