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Invocation to music - An Ode in Honour of Henry Purcell

Word count: 1454

Song Cycle by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, Sir (1848 - 1918)

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1. Myriad voicèd Queen!


Chorus
 Myriad voicèd Queen! Enchantress of the air!
 Bride of the life of man!
 For thee with tuneful reed, with string and horn,
 And high-adoring choir, a welcome we prepare!
 In silver-speaking mirrors of desire -
 In joyous ravishment of mystery,
 With heavenly echo of thoughts that dreaming lie,
 Chained in unborn oblivion drear;
 Thy many-hearted grace restore
 Unto our isle, our own to be!
 And make again our Graces three.


2. Turn, O return!


Chorus and soprano solo
 Turn, O return! In merry England
 Foster'd thou wert with infant Liberty.
 Her wild wood once was dear to thee,
 Her forest dells awoke to thee,
 Where shade and sunlight flickered,
 And the waters sang.

Soprano solo
 There the birds with tiny art,
 Earth's immemorial cradle-tune, 
 Warble at dawn to fern and fawn 
 In the budding thickets making merry; 
 While for their love the primrose faint 
 Floods all the shade with youthful scent.

Chorus 
 Come! come! thy jocund spring renew
 By lakes of hyacinthine blue:
 Thy beauty shall enchant the buxom May; 
 And all the summer months shall screen thy way 
 With flowery gear, till under fruit and berry 
 The tall brake groweth golden with the year.
 Return, return! 
 Join hands with Liberty, 
 She shall thine handmaid be! 
 Come with song and music gay!
 Come with song and dance and music gay! 
 Return, return to merry England;
 Return enchantress! Myriad voicèd Queen! 



3. Thee, fair Poetry oft hath sought


Tenor solo 
 Thee, fair Poetry oft hath sought, 
 Wandering lone in wayward thought, 
 In level meads by gliding streams, 
 When summer noon is full of dreams.
 And thy sweet airs her soul invade,
 Haunting retired the willow shade. 
 Or in some orchard's wallèd nook
 She communes with her ancient book,
 Beneath the branches waving low,
 While the high sun in cloudless glow 
 Smiteth all day the long hillside 
 With ripening corn-fields waving wide. 
 There if thou wander all the year,
 No jar of man shall reach thine ear; 
 Only awhile the distant sound 
 From hidden villages around,
 Threading the glades and woody heights, is borne
 Of bells that dong the Sabbath morn.


4. The monstrous sea


Chorus 
 The monstrous sea, with melancholy war, 
 Moateth about our castled shore, 
 His worldwide elemental moan, 
 Girdeth our lives with tragic zone. 
 Awhile to the wind he awakes: his seething ridges go 
 Following, following, row on row, 
 Lashed with hail and withering snow, 
 And ever dauntless hearts outride 
 The orphaning waters, wild and wide. 
 But when the winds, out-tired or fled, 
 Have left the drooping barks unsped, 
 Gently in calm his waves he swayeth, 
 And with the gentle moonlight playeth, 
 And all his mighty Music deep, 
 Whispers among the heapèd shells, 
 And tinkles softly with the bells 
 Of the clowns' unfolded sheep. 
 In the twinkling smile of his boundless slumber, 
 To the rhythm of oars,
 When the wild herds of his freedom outnumber 
 The sands of his shores, 
 When they toss their manes with delight,
 O'er the unpasturing field of the flood,
 When the waters have glowed with blood, 
 And hearts have laughed in the fight.
 Return, O Muse! return! 
 In the old sea songs of renown,
 In the noise of battle and victory, 
 By the mighty life and the changeful voice,
 Of the world-encircling sea;
 We have called, 
 O Muse of our isle, to thee.


5. Love to Love calleth


Soprano and tenor
 Love to Love calleth, 
 Love to Love replieth.
 From the ends of the earth 
 Over the dawning and darkening lands 
 Love cometh unto Love,
 To the pangs of desire, 
 To the heart by courage and might 
 Escaped from hell. 
 Escaped from the torment of burning fire, 
 From the sighs of the drowning main, 
 From shipwreck of fear and pain, 
 From the terror of night.
 All mankind by Love shall be banded 
 To battle with Evil, the many-handed;
 The spirit of man on beauty feedeth,
 The airy fancy he heedeth.
 He regardeth the Truth in the heavenly height,
 In changeful pavilions of loveliness dight,
 The all-nurturing sun that knows not the night,
 The beauty of earth,
 And the sweet birds' mirth,
 The sigh of the pines,
 And the starry signs;
 But out of his heart there welleth ever
 Divine delight - a deep, harmonious river
 Of Passion that runneth ever
 To the ends of the earth and crieth!
 And love from the heart of man
 To the heart of man returneth.
 Strong in the deeds he hath done,
 Glad for the victory won,
 On the wings of desire,
 Over the dawning and darkening lands,
 Love cometh to Love.


7. Man, born of desire


Man, born of desire, 
Cometh out of night, 
A wandering spark of fire, 
A lonely word of eternal thought, 
Echoing in chance, and forgot. 

He seeth the sun, 
He calleth the stars by name, 
He saluteth the flowers;
[The]1 wonders of land and sea, 
The mountain towers 
Of ice and air 
He seeth, and calleth them fair. 
Then he hideth his face, 
Whence he came to pass away,
Where all is forgot, 
Unmade, lost for aye, 
With the things that are not.
 
He striveth to know, 
To unravel the Mind 
That veileth in horror:
[He wills to adore. 
In wisdom he walketh
And loveth his kind;
His labouring breath
Would keep evermore:
Then he hideth his face ...

He dreameth of beauty. 
He seeks to create
Fairer and fairer]2
To vanquish his fate:
No hindrance he, 
No curse will brook. 
He maketh a law, 
No ill shall be; 
Then he hideth his face, 
[Whence he came to pass away,
Where all is forgot, 
Unmade, lost for aye, 
With the things that are not.]1


View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Holst.
2 omitted by Parry.

7. Dirge


Bass solo
 To me, to me, fair-hearted Goddess, come!
 To sorrow, come!
 Where by the grave I linger, dumb.
 With sorrow bow thine head,
 For all my beauty is dead.
 Leave Freedom's vaunt, leave happy thought awhile,
 Content thee with the solemn style of heav'nly peace.
 Thou only canst console, 
 Thou canst the eternal clouds unroll.
 Speak thou, my griefs, that so from pain
 My spirit yet may rise to love again 
 The Truth unknown that keeps our faith; 
 The Beauty unseen that bates our breath; 
 The Heav'n that doth our joys renew, 
 And drinketh up our tears as dew. 
 Lament, fair-hearted Queen, lament with me 
 For when thy Seer died no song was sung;
 Nor for thy heroes slain by land or sea 
 Hath honour found a tongue. 
 They died unsung, uncrown'd - 
 And no memorial found,
 Nor aught of beauty can we frame 
 Worthy their noble name. 
 Let idle Mirth go bare, make mute the dancing string, 
 Adorn with thy majestic consolation 
 Our mortal suffering, lest from our pain
 We ne'er arise to see again 
 The Truth unknown that keeps our faith; 
 The Beauty unseen that bates our breath; 
 The Heav'n that doth our joys renew, 
 And drinketh up our tears as dew.


8. Rejoice, ye dead, where'er your spirits dwell


Rejoice, ye dead, where'er your spirits dwell; 
Rejoice, that yet on earth your fame is bright, 
And that your names, remembered day and night, 
Live on the lips of those who love you well. 
'Tis ye that conquered have the powers of hell, 
Each with the special grace of your delight.1 
[Now are ye spherèd and have]2 starry names, 
Behind the sun ye climb 
To light the glooms of Time
With deathless [fame]3.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Holst inserts here: "Ye are the world's creators, and by might/ Alone of Heavenly love ye did excel."
2 Holst: "Now ye are"
3 Holst: "flames"

9. O enter with me the gates of delight


Soprano, tenor and bass
 O enter with me the gates of delight, 
 The gates of the garden of man's desire, 
 Where spirits, touched by heav'nly fire, 
 Have planted the trees of life. 
 While we slept in terror of night, 
 Laden with sorrows, chained and dumb; 
 Suddenly, while we slept, our heav'n is come.
 For many a master, in toil and strife, 
 Through the terror had found a way, 
 And stolen the heavenly fire 
 Of the everlasting day. 
 To thee, O man, the sun his truth hath giv'n,
 The moon hath whispered in love her silvery dreams, 
 Night hath unlocked for thee the starry heaven, 
 For thee, the sea, the trust of his streams. 
 Pain and woe forego their might, 
 To be the slaves of fair delight,
 Fear and pity disentwine
 Their aching beams in colours fine. 
 And the rapture of woodland spring 
 Is stayed in its flying;
 And death hath no sting
 For beauty undying.
 After darkness thy leaping sight!
 After dumbness thy dancing sound!
 After fainting thy heav'nly flight!
 After sorrow thy pleasure crown'd!
 O enter the garden of man's delight!
 Thy solace is found!


10. Thou, O Queen of sinless grace


Chorus
 Thou, O Queen of sinless grace,
 Now to our prayer unfold thy face,
 Awake again thy beauty free.
 Attune our lives with high romance,
 With lyric, song and choric dance,
 With hymn and holy symphony.
 Our thronging strength to the ends of the earth,
 Shall with a myriad voicèd song go forth.
 To lead o'er all the world's wide ways,
 God's everlasting praise;
 And every heart inspire
 With the joy of man in the beauty of love's desire.


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