|Awake My Lute, And Struggle For Thy Part With All Thy Art.|
Easter is a poem by George Herbert (1593–1633). It was published posthumously in 1633 as part of the collection, The Temple. None of his poems were published during his lifetime and much of his other writings are believed to have been lost as a result of the English Civil War (1642–1651). In 1911, the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) published Five Mystical Songs, a setting of five of Herbert's poems from The Temple. Williams' Easter (featured in the following video), along with two other of Herbert's poems from Five Mystical Songs: The Call (Come, My Way), and Love are included in the Hymns and Religious Poems (Eastertide) Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).
Sung by baritone, Malcolm J. Merriweather
EASTER by George Herbert, 1633 (Public Domain)
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
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 musick is but three parts vied
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.
I got me flowers to straw 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 miss:
There is but one, and that one ever.