Friday, December 28, 2007

Singing Suns and Shining Songs

Next up from the text of the Vaughan Williams Hodie--this from the 17th Century priest and poet George Herbert, whose devotional poetry is possibly the most sublime in the English language (with Donne and Herrick breathing down his neck). Any more commentary than this risks detracting from his art.

The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymn for Thee?
My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is Thy word: the streams, Thy grace
Enriching all the place.

Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Outsing the daylight hours.
Then will we chide the sun for letting night
Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.

I will go searching, till I find a sun
Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
As frost_nipped suns look sadly.

Then will we sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay:
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev'n His beams sing, and my music shine.

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