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Dies Natalis

Word count: 657

Song Cycle by Gerald Finzi (1901 - 1956)

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1. Intrada


[--- Tacet ---]

2. Rhapsody


Will you see the infancy of this sublime and celestial greatness?  I
was a stranger, which at my entrance into the world was saluted and
surrounded with innumerable joys: my knowledge was divine. I was
entertained like an angel with the works of God in their splendour and
glory. Heaven and Earth did sing my Creators praises, and could not
make more melody to Adam than to me. Certainly Adam in Paradise had
not more sweet and curious apprehensions of the world than I. All
appeared new, and strange at first, inexpressibly rare and delightful
and beautiful. All things were spotless and pure and glorious.

The corn was orient and immortal wheat, which never should be reaped
nor was ever sown. I thought it had stood from everlasting to
everlasting. The green trees, when I saw them first, transported and
ravished me, their sweetness and unusual beauty made my heart to leap,
and almost mad with ecstasy, they were such strange and wonderful
things.

O what venerable creatures did the aged seem!  Immortal cherubims!
and the young men glittering and sparkling angels, and maids strange
seraphic pieces of life and beauty! I knew not that they were born or
should die ; but all things abided eternally. I knew not that there
were sins or complaints or laws. I dreamed not of poverties,
contentions or vices. All tears and quarrels were hidden from mine
eyes. I saw all in the peace of Eden. Everything was at rest, free
and immortal.


3. The Rapture


Sweet Infancy!
O heavenly fire! O sacred Light!
How fair and bright!
How great am I
Whom the whole world doth magnify!

O heavenly Joy!
O great and sacred brightness
Which I possess!
Sao great a joy
Who did into my arms convey?

From God above
Being sent, the gift doth me inflame,
To praise his name.
The stars do move,
The sun doth shine, to show his love.

O how divine
Am I! To all this sacred wealth
This life and health
Who raised?  Who mine
Did make the same?  What hand divine!


4. Wonder


How like an angel I came down! 
How bright are all things a here!  
When first among his works I did appear
O how their glory did me crown!
The world resembled his eternity
In which my soul did walk;
And everything that I did see
Did with me talk.

The skies in their magnificence
The lovely, lively air, 
O how divine, how soft, how sweet, how fair!
The stars did entertain my sense;
And all the works of God so bright and pure,
So rich and great, did seem,
As if they ever must endue
In my esteem.

A native health and innocence
Witihin my bones did grow,
And while my God did all his glories show,
I felt a vigour in my sense 
That was all spirit:  within I did flow
With seas of life, like wine:
I nothing but the world did know
But t'was Divine.


5. The Salutation


These little limbs, these eyes and hands which I here find,
This panting heart wherewith my life begins;
Where have ye been?  Behind what curtain were ye from me hid so long?
Where was, in what abyss, my new made tongue? 

When silent I so many thousand thousand years
Beneath the dust did in a chaos lie, how could I smiles, or tears, 
Or lips, or hands, or eyes, or ears perceive? 
Welcome, ye treasures which I now receive.

From dust from I rise and out of nothing now awake,
These brighter regions which salute my eyes,
A gift from God I take, the earth, the seas, the light, the lofty skies,
The sun and stars are mine: if these I prize.

A stranger here, strange things doth meet, strange glory see,
Strange treasures lodged in this fair world appear,
Strange, all, and new to me: But that they mine should be who nothing was,
That strangest is of all; yet brought to pass.


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