Songs of Farewell

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Songs of Farewell is a set of six choral motets by the British composer Hubert Parry (1848–1918). The pieces were composed between 1916 and 1918 consist of poems by British poets and a Bible text, set to music for unaccompanied choir.

Text from the motets[edit]

1.My soul, there is a country[edit]

Poem "Peace" by Henry Vaughan

My soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
All skilful in the wars:

There, above noise and danger
Sweet Peace sits crowned with smiles
And One, born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.

He is thy gracious friend
And, O my soul, awake!
Did in pure love descend
To die here for thy sake.

If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flow'r of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress and thy ease.

Leave then thy foolish ranges,
For none can thee secure
But One who never changes,
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

2. I know my soul hath power[edit]

words by John Davies

I know my soul hath power to know all things,
Yet she is blind and ignorant in all:
I know I'm one of Nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.
I know my life's a pain and but a span;
I know my sense is mock'd in ev'rything;
And, to conclude, I know myself a Man,
Which is a proud and yet a wretched thing.

3. Never weather-beaten sail[edit]

Poem by Thomas Campion

Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore.
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest.
Ever blooming are the joys of Heaven's high Paradise.
Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes:
Glory there the sun outshines whose beams the blessed only see:
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to thee!

4. There is an old belief[edit]

Poem by John Gibson Lockhart

There is an old belief,
That on some solemn shore,
Beyond the sphere of grief
Dear friends shall meet once more.
Beyond the sphere of Time and Sin
And Fate's control,
Serene in changeless prime
Of body and of soul.

That creed I fain would keep
That hope I'll ne'er forgo,
Eternal be the sleep,
If not to waken so.

5. At the round earth's imagined corners[edit]

"Holy Sonnet 7" by John Donne

At the round earth's imagined corners blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom war, dea[r]th, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you, whose eyes
Shall behold God, and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space;
For, if above all these my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of Thy grace,
When we are there. Here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent, for that's as good
As if Thou hadst seal'd my pardon with Thy blood.

6. Lord, let me know mine end[edit]

Text from Psalm 39:5-15

5 Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days:
  that I may be certified how long I have to live.
6 Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long:
  and mine age is even as nothing in respect of thee;
  and verily every man living is altogether vanity.
7 For man walketh in a vain shadow,
  and disquieteth himself in vain:
  he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.
8 And now, Lord, what is my hope:
  truly my hope is even in thee.
9 Deliver me from all mine offences:
  and make me not a rebuke unto the foolish.
10 I became dumb, and opened not my mouth: for it was thy doing.
11 Take thy plague away from me:
  I am even consumed by the means of thy heavy hand.
12 When thou with rebukes dost chasten man for sin,
  thou makest his beauty to consume away,
  like as it were a moth fretting a garment:
  every man therefore is but vanity.
13 Hear my prayer, O Lord,
  and with thine ears consider my calling:
  hold not thy peace at my tears.
14 For I am a stranger with thee:
  and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
15 O spare me a little, that I may recover my strength:
  before I go hence, and be no more seen.

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