Happy Easter one and all! I love this poem by George Herbert, from his work “The Temple,” written in 1663. It is simply called “Easter.” (Thanks to Malcolm Guite for including it in his poetry collection for Lent and Easter, The Word in the Wilderness. This is where I discovered it.)
The older English comes across in some of the archaic spellings, and you can hear echoes of Psalm 57, a psalm traditionally read as part of morning prayer on Easter Sunday.
And for all those who have played their part in musical offerings this weekend, it is a beautiful reminder that all our praise originates in Christ’s work on the cross.
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 thee 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 arriving in the East,
Though he give light, & 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.
~ George Herbert