Lent 2015, Second Sunday—George Herbert

Again, remember that the Sundays of Lent do not count in the enumeration of the forty days, because Sundays are always commemorations of our Lord’s resurrection.  For this second Sunday of Lent, I reproduce below the poem Easter by the great seventeenth-century poet and Anglican priest, George Herbert.  Also, for your listening pleasure, my favorite composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, took this poem (divided into two parts) and combined them with three other Herbert poems to produce his famous composition, Five Mystical Songs.  You can listen to a BBC presentation of this composition here.

RISE heart;  thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
                                               Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
                                               With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
                                              With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name
                                              Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
                                              Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied,
                                              And multiplied;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to strew thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.

Jerry Shepherd
March 1, 2015

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