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Published on Mar 18, 2007
This favourite Harvest Festival hymn was written by Henry Alford (1810-1871) and first published in his Psalms and Hymns (1844). It was subsequently revised in his Poetical Works (1865/68) and his Year of Praise (1867) in seven verses. Most modern hymnals restrict the hymn to four verses, with some unwelcome editorial changes. The hymn echos two of Christ's parables; Matthew 13:24-30 (the story of the wheat and the tares) and Mark 4:26-29 (the story of the seed springing up without the sower knowing of it). This latter text includes the words: "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come."