Hold thou my hands

Hold thou my hands. William Canton* (1845-1926). According to Percy Dearmer* (Songs of Praise Discussed, 1933, p. 273) this hymn was written after Canton had seen a production of Gilbert and Sullivan*’s The Yeomen of the Guard. Phoebe’s Song, ‘When maiden loves’, had a rhythm and melody that Canton could not get out of his head, and the words emerged to fit them. The hymn was published in Good Words (May 1893) and in The Invisible Playmate. A Story of the Unseen (1894), written for his daughter Winifred, who died in 1901, aged 10. In the 1911 edition of that book Canton wrote: ‘...to me it will always be a pleasant thing to see, when I am very, very old, that genuine bit of the past...

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