I Saw the Grass (The Perfect Face)

 1 I saw the grass, I saw the trees, And the boats along the shore. I saw the shapes of many things I had only guessed before. And I saw the faces of men more clearly Than if I had never been blind: The lines of envy around their lips nd the greed and the hate in their eyes:  Chorus:  And I turned away, Yes, I turned away, For I had seen the perfect face Of a real and proper man: The man who brought me from the dark Into light—where life began.  2 I made my way into the town, To the busy crowded streets: The shops and stores and alleyways, Through the squalor and the heat.  And I saw the faces of men more clearly Than if I had never been blind: The lines of envy around their lips And the greed and the hate in their eyes:  3  I made my way into the hills, To a quiet and lonely place. I found a clear unruffled pool And I gazed upon my face.  And I saw this face of mine more clearly Than if I had never been blind:  the lines of envy around my lips and the greed and the hate in my eyes: 4  I saw the grass, I saw the trees, And the boats along the shore. I saw the shapes of many things I had only guessed before. And I saw the faces of men more clearly Than if I had never been blind:  The lines of sorrow around their lips and the child looking out from their eyes:  Final chorus: And I turned to them, Yes, I turned to them, Remembering the perfect face Of a real and proper man: The man who brought me from the dark Into light—where life began.
This hymn was written by English Roman Catholic musician, teacher and hymn-writer Estelle White.

It is inspired by the story of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), and was reportedly White's personal favourite composition (ref).   It has occasionally been given the title "A Proper Man" (ref).

The song was first published in the 20th Century Folk Hymnal released by McCrimmon-Mayhew Ltd in 1976. It is now included in the Celebration Hymnal for Everyone (1994 onwards) and this is the best current source of sheet music for it.

The tune, also by White, is unnamed, and has a 3/4 time signature.



Examples


Duet - piano accompaniment:



Instrumental - flute:

Lyrics

The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they are currently available on this website. A rough outline is:
1 I saw the grass, I saw the trees,
...And the greed and the hate in their eyes:

Chorus:
And I turned away,
Yes, I turned away,
For I had seen the perfect face
Of a real and proper man:
The man who brought me from the dark
Into light—where life began.

2 I made my way into the town ...

3 I made my way into the hills,

4 I saw the grass, I saw the trees,

Final chorus:
And I turned to them,
Yes, I turned to them,
Remembering the perfect face
Of a real and proper man:
The man who brought me from the dark
Into light—where life began.

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1 comment:

  1. This hymn has been with me since my first hearing.
    The words capture my feelings, I imagine the chaos in Our Lords presence, I would view his beautiful face and need no more, I would be able to take strength from that view and translate into the spreading the word of My Lord.
    Beautiful Hymn Simple and True

    ReplyDelete