At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing
“At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing” was written by Robert Campbell in 1849 and first appeared in his collection commonly known as the St Andrew’s Hymnal in 1850, in four stanzas of eight lines. The original manuscript included the first two lines as a refrain to each verse, but these were omitted in the published text. The hymn started to become known when it was published in an altered form in Cooke and Denton’s Hymnal. The version became famous and became a part of the most important collections of the Church of England. There are many alterations in Church Hymns, Thring, Hymns Ancient & Modern, and others dated from Cooke and Denton's Hymnal in 1853. Another known revision of the song was printed in Rev. Francis Pott’s Collection in 1861, which was entitled “To the Lamb’s High Feast We Press.”
The author, Robert Campbell, was born on December 19, 1814, at Trochmig, Ayrshire. He was so inclined to Theological studies when he was young, but he pursued law as a profession. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow when he was a boy and later on attended the Law Classes of the University of Edinburgh, and became an advocate. He joined the Episcopal Church at an early age and became a zealous and devoted Churchman, especially dedicating his attention to the children of the poor’s education. He began a series of translating Latin hymns in 1848 and submitted it to Dr. Mills of Ely, Dr. Neale, and other judges. A few of his original hymns, including At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing, were published as Hymns and Anthems for Use in the Holy Services of the Church within the United Diocese of Saint Andrews.
The tune of the text was called SALZBURG, named after the Austrian city made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was first published anonymously in 1678 in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica. The tune was then attributed to Jakob Hintze in 1690. Hintze traveled widely during his youth to further his musical education and partly as a result of the Thirty Years’ War. He settled in Berlin in 1659 and served as a court musician to the Elector of Brandenburg from 1666 to 1695. He contributed some sixty-five of his original tunes in the later editions of Johann Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica, where SALZBURG first appeared.