All the past we leave behind
All the past we leave behind. Walt Whitman* (1819-1892).
This hymn is made up of lines from Whitman’s poem ‘Pioneers, O Pioneers!’, from Leaves of Grass (1882 edition). The first instance that I have found of its use in a hymnbook was in 1925, when Percy Dearmer* included it in SofP. He commissioned Martin Shaw* to write a tune for the unusual metre, which he called PIONEERS.
Verses 4-6 of Whitman’s poem are the basis of verse 1 of the hymn:
All the past we leave behind:
We take up the task eternal,
And the burden, and the lesson,
Conquering, holding, daring, venturing,
So we go the unknown ways,
Pioneers! O Pioneers!
Verse 2 concerns self-denial, bravery, and unity, from...
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