Talented Tuesday: A Hymn Written by Harold Green

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Hymn composed by Harold Green, based on a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. It was dedicated to Bess Green Broida.- Cover Sheet
Hymn composed by Harold Green, based on a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. It was dedicated to Bess Green Broida. Cover Sheet.

Green Family, Broida Family (Click for Family Trees)

In January of 1952, Harold L. Green wrote music to add to favorite lines from a poem that his paternal aunt, Bess Green Broida, dearly loved. The poem was written in 1856 by John Greenleaf Whittier:

The Eternal Goodness

I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
God’s mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.
And so beside the silent sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.
I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.

                                                  (Lines 61-80)

Hymn composed by Harold Green, based on a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. It was dedicated to Bess Green Broida.
Hymn composed by Harold Green, based on a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. It was dedicated to Bess Green Broida. (Click to enlarge.)

Back in the day, these lines were probably memorized, and/or written on a scrap a paper placed in a bible or other special book. Perhaps Bess sang this as she worked or prayed, or shared it with her congregation. Bess obviously cherished this gift, as it has been preserved and passed down in the family.

Harold was the son of Herman Green (1894-1973) and Bess Catlin Green (1893-1951). His brother was Preston Green (1915-2003). Harold was born in Missouri, likely St. Louis, on 04 December 1921.

The talent displayed in this gift for his aunt when Harold was 30 years old played out in his life- ‘played’ can be taken literally here as well, since Harold was an organist and taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He shared his talents with his students and helped to develop theirs for 35 years. Harold also played  the organ at Congregation Shalom (Harold was Jewish.), the Fourth Church of Christ Scientist (His aunt Bess was a Christian Scientist.), and at Sherman Park Lutheran Church.

Harold died 29 May 2007 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest.

2) “The Eternal Goodness” by John Greenleaf Whittier, written in 1856. The words are public domain. The poem in its entirety may be seen at http://www.bartleby.com/42/792.html.

 

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2 thoughts on “Talented Tuesday: A Hymn Written by Harold Green”

    1. We do too!

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