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It is uncertain whether this service should be attributed to John Hilton the elder (onetime assistant organist at Lincoln Cathedral) or to his son of the same name (c.1599 - 1657), organist at St Margaret's, Westminster. Extant sacred works undoubtedly composed by the latter display a more modern style than is evident here, and in accordance with the balance of probabilities, I have attributed the work to the elder man.

Posterity has not been kind to the Hilton family; despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, his best-known anthem will be referred to as Farrant's "Lord for thy tender mercy's sake" for as long as pelargoniums are called geraniums.

Lyrics: Book of Common Prayer, 1662

MAGNIFICAT
My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel: as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

NUNC DIMITTIS
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen: thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared: before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles: and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

John Hilton
(? - 1608)

Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in G minor

(S.A.T.B. + reduction)

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