April 21, 2014

Poem: Easter (Ride Heart, Thy Lord is Risen)

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
          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 musick 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 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.



  1. Hello! Just wanted to let you know I used this page as a reference to my short piece on this poem: http://bit.ly/26n8KSZ

  2. Thanks N.W.! - Excellent analysis of Herbert's poem.


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