Sunday, 6 April 2014

A Scotch-Irish hymn tune called 'Ulster'

Robert Lowry
This morning at church we sang the great Fanny Crosby hymn All the way my Saviour leads me
All the way my Saviour leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith with Him to dwell!
For I know whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
Fanny Crosby wrote the words but the tune was composed by the Scotch-Irish preacher and hymn-writer Robert Lowry (1826-1899) and in many tune-books it bears the name 'Ulster'.
Lowry was born in Philadelphia and was the son of an Ulster-Scots emigrant. He studied at the University of Lewisburg (now Bucknell) and became a Baptist preacher.  Over the next forty-five years he pastored five churches in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
Robert Lowry also wrote many hymns including some of the best-known hymns of that era.  He wrote the words and music for Shall we gather at the river, Nothing but the Blood of Jesus and Christ arose and he provided the tunes for other hymns such as I need Thee every hour and We're marching to Zion.
The hymns and tunes that were written by sons and daughters of the Ulster-Scots diaspora form part of our Ulster-Scots heritage.

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