Hints of a Hymn

04 Jun

Earlier in Uncle Tom’s Cabin I was reminded of a hymn.  Remember?

It happened again.

Chapter XXXIII– Legree knows that Miss Cassy and Tom helped to fill Lucy’s basket of cotton.  Legree lies about the weight in Lucy’s basket, and he wants Tom to flog her as punishment.  Tom refuses and is repeatedly beaten for it.  Again and again Tom is struck.  Again and again the slave rightly refuses his master.  Legree asks Tom if he didn’t pay for him and thus own him body and soul.

     In the very depth of physical suffering, bowed by brutal oppression, this question shot a gleam of joy and triumph through Tom’s soul.  He suddenly stretched himself up, and, looking earnestly to heaven, while the tears and blood that flowed down his face mingled, he exclaimed,

This is where I started humming a Lenten hymn.  Do you hear it?
“tears and blood that flowed down his face mingled”
Doesn’t that sound a little like “Sorrow and love flow mingled down“?

See, from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” stanza 3
Lutheran Service Book, hymn 425
text: Isaac Watts,  1674-1748

Here’s the rest of the quote that contains Tom’s response to Legree:

     “No!  no!  no!  my soul an’t yours, Mas’r!  You haven’t bought it, –ye can’t buy it!  It’s been bought and paid for, by one that is able to keep it;–no mater, no matter, you can’t harm me!”

I really wonder if Harriet Beecher Stowe was familiar with this hymn because the “body and soul” talk seems to reflect stanza four.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a tribute far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

More and more I’m seeing Tom as a Christ-like figure.




Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


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4 responses to “Hints of a Hymn

  1. Elizabeth Johnson

    June 4, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Love this hymn! You’re making me really eager to keep reading, with all these hymns that keep coming up!

  2. Norma Carey

    June 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Way back in the beginning – there is a part where Tom tells George to take care of his mother and I remember thinking of Jesus on the cross telling John to do the same. I definitely regard Tom as a Christlike figure.

    • Adriana @ Classical Quest

      June 4, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Very perceptive Norma! I didn’t catch that.

    • Christine

      June 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Excellent catch! I have a page just for “Tom reminds me of Christ…” in my journal. I’ll be adding this example. Thanks!


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