Six Songs of Faith

Song Cycle by Charles Villiers Stanford, Sir (1852 - 1924)

Word count: 779

1. Strong Son of God [sung text not yet checked]

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
    Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
    By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
    Thou madest Life in man and brute;
    Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
    Thou madest man, he knows not why,
    He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.

Thou seemest human and divine,
    The highest, holiest manhood, thou:
    Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

Our little systems have their day;
    They have their day and cease to be:
    They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith: we cannot know;
    For knowledge is of things we see;
    And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
    But more of reverence in us dwell;
    That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster. We are fools and slight;
    We mock thee when we do not fear:
    But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seem'd my sin in me;
    What seem'd my worth since I began;
    For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
    Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
    I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
    Confusions of a wasted youth;
    Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. God and the Universe [sung text checked 1 time]

Will my tiny spark of being wholly vanish in your deeps and heights?
Must my day be dark by reason, O ye Heavens, of your boundless nights,
Rush of Suns, and roll of systems, and your fiery clash of meteorites?

"Spirit, nearing yon dark portal at the limit of thy human state,
Fear not thou the hidden purpose of that Power which alone is great,
Nor the myriad world, His shadow, nor the silent Opener of the Gate."

Authorship

Confirmed with The English Poets, ed. by Thomas Humphry Ward, New York, London: Macmillan and Co., 1880-1918.


Researcher for this text: John Glenn Paton [Guest Editor]

3. Faith [sung text checked 1 time]

Doubt no longer that the Highest is the wisest and the best,
Let not all that saddens Nature blight thy hope or break thy rest,
    Quail not at the fiery mountain, at the shipwreck, or the rolling
Thunder, or the rending earthquake, or the famine, or the pest!

Neither mourn if human creeds be lower than the heart’s desire!
Thro’ the gates that bar the distance comes a gleam of what is higher.
    Wait till Death has flung them open, when the man will make the Maker
Dark no more with human hatreds in the glare of deathless fire!

Authorship

Researcher for this text: John Glenn Paton [Guest Editor]

4. To the Soul [sung text checked 1 time]

Darest thou now O Soul,
Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,
Where neither ground is for the feet
   nor any path to follow?

No map there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh,
   nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.

I know it not O Soul;
Nor dost thou -- all is a blank before us;
All waits, undream'd of, in that region,
   [that inaccessible land]1.

Till when the [ties loosen]2,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense,
   nor any bounds, [bound]3 us.

Then we burst forth -- we float,
In Time and Space, O Soul, prepared for them;
Equal, equipt at last, -- 
   (O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil, O Soul.

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)

Note: the indented lines have been broken off from the preceding lines so that parallel translations will be easier to see. This poem has five stanzas of three lines each.

1 W. Schuman: "the inaccessible land,/ The unknown region."
2 Bacon: "tie is loosened"
3 Bacon: "bounding"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

5. Tears! tears! tears![sung text checked 1 time]

Tears! tears! tears!
In the night, in solitude, tears,
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck'd in by the sand,
Tears, not a star shining, all dark and desolate,
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head;
O who is that ghost? that form in the dark, with tears?
What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouch'd there on the sand?
Streaming tears, sobbing tears, throes, choked with wild cries;
O storm, embodied, rising, careering with swift steps along the beach!
O wild and dismal night storm, with wind - O howling and desperate!
O shade so sedate by day, with calm countenance and steady pace,
But away at night as you fly, none looking - O then the unloosen'd ocean,
Of tears! tears! tears!

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

6. Joy, shipmate, joy [sung text checked 1 time]

Joy, shipmate, joy!
(Pleas'd to my soul at death I cry,)
Our life is closed, our life begins,
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last, she leaps!
She swiftly courses from the shore,
Joy, shipmate, joy.

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Alegra’t company de bord, alegra’t!", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]