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Alternate hymn words and tunes

This page exists mostly for my own convenience. Words or sheet music are set up on half-size sheets for inserting into typical order of service. Hymn numbers are for the current Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition.

"America the Beautiful"

Included in the 1964 Unitarian Universalist hymnal Hymns for the Celebration of Life, not in the current hymnal, still useful on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. Verses 1, 2, and 4.

Sheet music (half sheet).

"Beneath The Trees"

Poem by Transcendentalist Rev. John Weiss, set to "Mear," a 1720 hymn tune. For use in First Unitarian New Bedford, where Weiss was minister from 1850-1859; aside from historical interest, not a particularly useful hymn.

1. Beneath the trees today we met,
Amid the summer flowers;
And every heart is blessing yet,
These happy, fleeting hours.

2. But creeping shades to vespers call,
And timely love impart,
To make our latest shadows fall,
From sunshine in the heart.

3. O, let us cherish nature's creed
And live and bloom to thee;
And only childlike hearts, we see,
Shall grace eternity.

Sheet music (half sheet).

"Blue Boat Home"

The words to this lovely hymn set to the traditional tune of Hyrfrodol, instead of the oddly changed tune found in the hymnal supplement Singing the Journey. (This version of the words were edited by Maggi Kerr Peirce of New Bedford.)

Sheet music (half sheet).


A classic Revolutionary song by William Billings, this almost became our national anthem. Included here because I actually did incorporate this song into a Sunday service at the Concord, Massachusetts, Unitarian Universalist church on July 4, 2010.

Sheet music (half sheet).

"The Leaf Unfurling"

Don Cohen, who wrote hymn #7, intended the words for this hymn to go with the music printed with hymn #103 ("For All the Saints").

Don's words (half sheet).

"The Lord's My Shepherd"

From the 1964 hymnal Hymns for the Celebration of Life, a paraphrase of the 23rd psalm from the Scottish Psalter. Partially degenderized by substituting "God" for "he" and "God's" for "his"; but the word "lord" is left intact since it is so much a part of the popular culture notion of this psalm.

Sheet music (half sheet).

"Spring Morning"

Alternate words for the tune "Coolinge" (#64, #77), adapted from a poem by Henry David Thoreau.

1. The school boy loitered on his way to school,
Scorning to live so rare a day by rule.
So mild the air, a pleasure 'twas to breathe,
For what seems heav'n above was earth beneath.

2. Sour'd neighbors chatted by the garden pale,
Nor quarrell'd who should drive the needed nail--
The most unsocial made new friends that day,
As when the sun shines husbandmen make hay.

3. How long I slept I know not, but at last
I felt my consciousness returning fast,
For Zephyr rustled past with leafy tread,
And heedlessly with one heel grazed my head.

4. My eyelids opened on a field of blue,
For close above a nodding violet grew,
A part of heav'n it seemed, which I could scent,
Its blue commingling with the firmament.

Sheet music (half sheet).

"This Land Is Your Land"

Included in the 1976 liberal religious hymnal How Can We Keep from Singing.

Sheet music (half sheet).


Page revised 26 December 2013.