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A Song of Darkness and Light

Set by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, Sir (1848 - 1918), "A Song of Darkness and Light", published 1898. [soprano, SATB chorus, and orchestra] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Note: this setting is made up of several separate texts.

Power eternal, power unknown, uncreate 
Force of force, fate of fate.
Beauty and light are thy seeing, 
Wisdom and right thy decreeing, 
Life of life is thy being. 
In the smile of thine infinite starry gleam, 
Without beginning or end, 
Measure or number, 
Beyond time and space, 
Without foe or friend, 
In the void of thy formless embrace, 
All things pass as a dream 
Of thine unbroken slumber.

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First published in Cornhill Magazine, September 1898


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Gloom and the night are thine: 
On the face of thy mirror darkness and terror, 
The smoke of thy blood, the frost of thy breath. 
In silence and woful awe 
Thy harrying angels of death 
Destroy whate'er thou makest --
Makest, destroyest, destroyest and makest. 
Thy gems of life thou dost squander, 
Their virginal beauty givest to plunder, 
Doomest to uttermost regions of age-long ice 
To starve and expire : 
Consumest with glance of fire, 
Or back to confusion shakest 
With earthquake, elemental storm and thunder.

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First published in Cornhill Magazine, September 1898


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

In ways of beauty and peace 
Fair desire, companion of man, 
Leadeth the children of earth. 
As when the storm doth cease, 
The loving sun the clouds dispelleth, 
And woodland walks are sweet in spring; 
The birds they merrily sing 
And every flower-bud swelleth. 
Or where the heav'ns o'erspan 
The lonely downs 
When summer is high: 
Below their breezy crowns 
And grassy steep 
Spreadeth the infinite smile of the sunlit sea; 
Whereon the white ships swim, 
And steal to havens far 
Across the horizon dim, 
Or lie becalm'd upon the windless deep, 
Like thoughts of beauty and peace, 
When the storm doth cease, 
And fair desire, companion of man, 
Leadeth the children of earth.

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First published in Cornhill Magazine, September 1898


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Man, born to toil, in his labour rejoiceth; 
His voice is heard in the morn: 
He armeth his hand and sallieth forth 
To engage with the generous teeming earth, 
And drinks from the rocky rills 
The laughter of life. 
Or else, in crowded cities gathering close, 
He traffics morn and eve 
In thronging market-halls; 
Or within echoing walls 
Of busy arsenals 
Weldeth the stubborn iron to engines vast ; 
Or tends the thousand looms 
Where, with black smoke o'ercast, 
The land mourns in deep glooms. 
Life is toil, and life is good : 
There in loving brotherhood 
Beateth the nation's heart of fire. 
Strife ! Strife ! The strife is strong ! 
There battle thought and voice, and spirits conspire 
In joyous dance around the tree of life, 
And from the ringing choir 
Riseth the praise of God from hearts in tuneful song.

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First published in Cornhill Magazine, September 1898


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Hark ! What spirit doth entreat 
The love-obedient air ? 
All the pomp of his delight 
Revels on the ravisht night, 
Wandering wilful, soaring fair: 
There ! Tis there, 'tis there. 
Like a flower of primal fire 
Late redeem'd by man's desire. 
Away, on wings away 
My spirit far hath flown, 
To a land of love and peace, 
Of beauty unknown. 
The world that earth-born man, 
By evil undismay'd, 
Out of the breath of God 
Hath for his heaven made. 
Where all his dreams soe'er 
Of holy things and fair 
In splendour are upgrown, 
Which thro' the toilsome years 
Martyrs and faithful seers 
And poets with holy tears 
Of hope have sown. 
There, beyond power of ill, 
In joy and blessing crown'd, 
Christ with His lamp of truth 
Sitteth upon the hill 
Of everlasting youth, 
And calls His saints around.

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First published in Cornhill Magazine, September 1898


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Sweet compassionate tears 
Have dimm'd my earthly sight, 
Tears of love, the showers wherewith 
The eternal morn is bright: 
Dews of the heav'nly spheres. 
With tears my eyes are wet, 
Tears not of vain regret, 
Tears of no lost delight, 
Dews of the heav'nly spheres 
Have dimm'd my earthly sight, 
Sweet compassionate tears

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First published in Cornhill Magazine, September 1898


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Gird on thy sword, O man, thy strength endue,
In fair desire thine earth-born joy renew.
Live thou thy life beneath the making sun
Till Beauty, Truth, and Love in thee are one.

Thro' thousand ages hath thy childhood run:
On timeless ruin hath thy glory been:
From the forgotten night of loves fordone
Thou risest in the dawn of hopes unseen.

Higher and higher shall thy thoughts aspire,
Unto the stars of heaven, and pass away,
And earth renew the buds of thy desire
In fleeting blooms of everlasting day.

Thy work with beauty crown, thy life with love;
Thy mind with truth uplift to God above;
For whom all is, from whom was all begun,
In whom all Beauty, Truth, and Love are one.

Authorship


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First published in Cornhill Magazine, September 1898


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]