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


¶   Even-song.

                                BLest be the God of love,
Who gave us eyes, and light, and power this day,
                 Both to be busie, and to play.
                 But much more blest be God above,

                                Who gave me sight alone,
                 Which to himself he did denie:
                 For when he sees my waies, I dy:
But I have got his sonne, and he hath none.

                                What have I brought thee home
For this thy love? have I discharg’d the debt,
                 Which this dayes favour did beget?
                 I ranne; but all I brought, was fome.

                                Thy diet, care, and cost
                 Do end in bubbles, balls of winde;
                 Of winde to thee whom I have crost,
But balls of wilde-fire to my troubled minde.

                                Yet still thou goest on,
And now with darknesse closest wearie eyes,
                 Saying to man, It doth suffice:
                 Henceforth repose; your work is done.

                                Thus in thy ebony box
                 Thou dost inclose us, till the day
                 Put our amendment in our way,
And give new wheels to our disorder’d clocks.

                                I muse, which shows more love,
The day or night: that is the gale, this th’ harbour;
                 That is the walk, and this the arbour;
                 Or that the garden, this the grove.

                                My God, thou art all love.
                 Not one poore minute scapes thy breast,
                 But brings a favour from above;
And in this love, more then in bed, I rest.

Music Interpretation: Tallis' Canon arranged with the words of Herbert's "Even-song" by Red Dragon. Open music in another window.
"Even-song" a motet by Red Dragon. Open music in another window.

Note: Even-song, short for Evening song, also Evening Prayer, which was often sung:

  • For the Evening Prayer Service see Book of Common Prayer 1559, Evening Prayer.
  • The 1559 Elizabethan Book of Common Prayer, Evening Prayer with poems of George Herbert added.

  • Destinations
    1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page