by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)

God sent his Singers upon earth
Language: English 
God sent his Singers upon earth 
With songs of sadness and of mirth, 
That they might touch the hearts of men, 
And bring them back to heaven again. 

The first, a youth, with soul of fire, 
Held in his hand a golden lyre; 
Through groves he wandered, and by streams, 
Playing the music of our dreams. 

The second with a bearded face, 
Stood singing in the market-place, 
And stirred with accents deep and loud 
The hearts of all the listening crowd. 

A grey old man, the third and last, 
Sang in cathedrals dim and vast,
While the majestic organ rolled 
Contrition from its mouths of gold. 

And those who heard the Singers three, 
Disputed who the best might be; 
For still their music seemed to start 
Discordant echoes in each heart. 

But the great Master said, "I see 
No best in kind, but in degree; 
I gave a various gift to each, 
To charm, to strengthen, and to teach. 

"These are the three great chords of might, 
And he whose ear is tuned aright 
Will hear no discord in the three, 
But the most perfect harmony."

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 28
Word count: 186