[The Temple, Detail of Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   Easter.

RIse heart; thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
                                                  Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
                                                  With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined1 thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
                                                  With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name,
                                                  Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
                                                  Pleasant and long:
Or, since all musick is but three parts2 vied
                                                  And multiplied,
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.


I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, & th’ East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.

1 calcined. reduced to lime or other substance. (Oxford English Dictionary.) In this case reduced to our lowest commonest denominator, dust, of which we all are made. [Return]

2 three parts. Most chords have only 3 different notes which are repeated, multiplied, at different octaves in different voices or instruments. [Return]

Note on Form: Herbert’s poems sometimes take a double-poem organization with two separate stanza forms. Because he played the lute and was familiar with popular songs of his day, he may have adapted this two-part structure. He may even have intended the poems to be sung.

When used simply for dancing [the pavane] was followed by a quicker dance in triple time, generally a galliard, consisting of leaps. Such pairing of dances was a constant practice throughout the [sixteenth] century. - Alec Robinson and Denis Stevens, ed. The Penguin History of Music (Penguin Books: Baltimore, 1967) Vol. 2, p. 179.

John Dowland used the rounded binary [AABB] form in "The Sacred Queen Elizabeth, Her Galliard," and Thomas Morley used it in "The Merry Month of Maying."

On the 2-in-1, or binary, poem form see also The H. Communion, Christmas, Good Friday, Church-floor and The Offering.

Ralph Vaughan Williams composed 5 Mystical Songs using George Herbert’s poems:

  1. Easter ["Easter" section A] hear beginning portion Click to open music in new window.
  2. I Got Me Flowers ["Easter" section B],
  3. Love Bade Me Welcome ["Love (III)"],
  4. The Call
  5. Antiphon ["Antiphon (I)"]
Links on Music and George Herbert

Modern version
1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page