O’er the gloomy hills of darkness

O’er the gloomy hills of darkness. William Williams* (1717-1791).  From Williams’s Gloria in Excelsis (Carmarthen, 1772), where it was Hymn XXXVII. A correspondent to the Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal of 1941 suggests that the diction and imagery may have been inspired by the Black Mountain range in Carmarthenshire which may be seen from Williams's home (Polack, 1958, p. 352). The customary text is one of three (or sometimes four) stanzas, selected from the original seven. It was included in Asahel Nettleton*’s Village Hymns for Social Worship* (Hartford, Connecticut, 1824) as a hymn of three stanzas, and this has remained a standard version:  O’er the gloomy hills of darkness;   Cheer’d...

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