A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

"All lavish of strange gifts to man"

I posted the following questions to the Sacred Harp discussion list. This will be of interest to only those people who are interested in both grammar and Sacred Harp. I may be the only one in this group. However, hope springs eternal …

In Easter Anthem (236), the poetry ends:

Man, all immortal hail,
Hail heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man,
Thine’s all the glory,
Man’s the boundless bliss.

I’m having trouble parsing this. Maybe you can help…

Question 1. Who is hailing, and who is being hailed?

I think it’s ‘Man’ and ‘Heaven’ hailing God, but it could be we are hailing ‘immortal Man’ (i.e., Jesus, I assume) and ‘heaven.’ (i.e., God, I assume).

Question 2: What does ‘all lavish of strange gifts to man’  mean?

It seems to me that ‘lavish’ has to be a noun, grammatically. If so, it probably means something like ‘lavisher’ or ‘giver’–i.e., ‘heaven, giver of strange gifts to man’; or ‘the lavished’, or ‘blessed’, i.e., ‘hail heaven, O ye who are lavished with strange gifts.’ Any thoughts?


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