June 4, 2014

Poem: At a Solemn Music

To His Celestial Consort Us Unite

At a Solemn Music is by the English poet, John Milton (1608-1674). It was first published in his collection, 1645 Poems. The British composer, Hubert Parry's setting of the ode: Blest Pair of Sirens was premiered in 1887 at a concert before Queen Victoria, celebrating her Golden Jubilee. In 2011 it was performed at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. At a Solemn Music is included in the Poems for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).

Sung by the Choir of Winchester Cathedral

AT A SOLEMN MUSIC by John Milton

Blest pair of sirens, pledges of heaven's joy,
Sphere-born harmonious Sisters, Voice, and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mixed power employ 
Dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce,
And to our high-raised phantasy present,
That undisturbed song of pure content,
Ay sung before the sapphire-coloured throne
To him that sits theron
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee,
Where the bright seraphim in burning row
Their loud uplifted angel trumpets blow,
And the cherubic host in thousand choirs
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires, 
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
Singing everlastingly; 
That we on earth with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportioned sin
Jarred against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion swayed
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
O may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with heaven, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light.


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