Little Red's comment made me think of the lyrics to this politically incorrect old shape-note song, Greenwich (183), with its grim satisfaction at the comeuppance in store for rich and powerful villains:
Lord, what a thoughtless wretch was I
To mourn and murmur and repine
To see the wicked placed on high
In pride and robes of honor shine

But oh, their end, their dreadful end
Thy sanctuary taught me so
On slippery rocks I see them stand
And fiery billows roll below
There's nothing like this in my 1980 Episcopal hymnbook, I'll tell you that. It would give the editors the vapors just to hear it. Sure is fun to sing, though: "But oh, their end, their dreadful end . . . ."


Joseph W. said...

Don't see anything politically incorrect about that. Resenting wealth and success, associating it with evil, and wanting to see it suffer - that lines up nicely with the PC mindset, even if it's not exactly the same.

Lars Walker said...

C. S. Lewis, in one of his letters, quotes an old Scottish Covenanters' hymn based on Psalm 137, including the lines,

Oh blessed may that trooper be
Who, riding on his naggie
Will tak thy wee bairns by the taes,
And ding them on the craggie!

Anonymous said...

The ballad "The House Carpenter" has the same tale in a secular setting - gal runs away with her richer, more glamorous former suitor, abandoning her husband and child. She drowns in a shipwreck and is damned and/or her former lover turns out to be the devil in disguise. Alan Lomax noted that the song remained popular with the women of the Southern Highlands (Appalachia).

"O Holy City Seen of John" is another great old hymn that "comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable." And then there's 'Lord teach us how to pray aright":
"Lord, teach us how to pray aright
With reverence and with fear
Though dust and ashes in Thy sight,
We may, we must draw near."

But I'm still adding a pinch of sugar to the cornbread at Christmas ;)

Grim said...

It's fun until you think that it might be you. For we are the rich, we Americans, and the powerful, and the glorious. But perhaps, by grace, we may pass over even slippery rocks, and defy the fiery billows.

Yet to hope for grace is not to deny the danger of the rocks, nor the truth of the fire.

Anonymous said...

As the Lord says in another great hymn:
'When through firey trials thy pathway shall lie
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine."


Texan99 said...

Lars's hymn perfectly captures the tone. People used to be quite a lot less ambivalent about their belief in Hell and their comfort in consigning sinners to it. Of course, this hymn goes beyond comfort and right into a kind of lip-smacking satisfaction. "I'll get you, my pretty!"