www.Poundswick .org.uk

The School Hymn

Lift up your hearts!

Words: Henry Montague Butler, 1881
Music: Walter Greatorex, 1916
Tune: Woodlands


"Lift up your hearts!" We lift them, Lord to thee;
Here at thy feet none other may we see.
"Lift up your hearts!" Even so with one accord,
We lift them up, we lift them to the Lord.

Above the level of the former years,
The mire of sin, the slough of guilty fears,
The mist of doubt, the blight of love's decay,
O Lord of light, lift all our hearts today.

Above the swamps of subterfuge and shame,
The deeds, the thoughts that honour may not name,
The halting tongue that dares not tell the whole,
O Lord of truth, lift every Christian soul.

Lift every gift that Thou Thyself has given;
Low lies the best till lifted up to heaven;
Low lie the bounding heart, the teeming brain
Till, sent from God, they mount to God again.

Then as the trumpet-call in after years,
"Lift up your hearts!" rings pealing in our ears,
Still shall those hearts respond with full accord,
"We lift them up, we lift them to the Lord!"


Click here for a midi version of the tune. Alternatively, if you'd prefer something a bit more authentic click here for an MP3 file (1.2Mb) of a rendition on the piano by Mr. F. P. Welton himself.


Henry Montague Butler (1833-1918) was born at Gayton, Northamptonshire and was Headmaster of Harrow School for 26 years. He served as Dean of Gloucester and in 1886 was appointed Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. His original words for Lift up your hearts! include an additional verse between verses three and four, as below:

Above the storms that vex this lower state,
Pride, jealousy and envy, rage and hate,
And cold mistrust that holds even friends apart,
O Lord of Love, lift every brother's heart!

This verse was never included in Poundswick's version.

Walter Greatorex (1877-1949) was born at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Son of a bank manager, he attended St. John's College, Cambridge and then served as Assistant Music Master at Uppingham School. He was Music Master at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk from 1911 to 1949.

Lift up your hearts! was never replaced as the School Hymn, not even when Poundswick became Parklands in 1999. Arguably, therefore, it continued, by default, to be the School Hymn to the very end. However, without ever being officially abandoned, it appears to have fallen out of favour with the coming of comprehensive. Programmes for School Prizegiving ceremonies in the Grammar School era always carried the words of "The School Hymn" (Lift up your hearts!) on the back page but the programme for the ceremony held on 27th March 1968 - the first of the comprehensive era - had on its back page the words of an "Opening Hymn"; Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation. For some reason somebody had decided that the School Hymn was no longer appropriate for this occasion.

For many years I hoped that one day we might manage to assemble an enthusiastic and tuneful group of Old Poundswickians in the school hall and that the corridors might resound once more to Walter Greatorex's magnificent hymn. Sadly, this was never achieved, although it was sung on a number of impromptu occasions in other places, and I've no doubt it will be again!