The Cross Taught All Wood to Resound His Name

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. - Gospel of Luke


An Anglican priest named George Herbert was near death in 1633. He gave a manuscript of poetry to a friend, asking him to publish it if he thought it was any good. It's gone down as one of the major collections of British poetry. Here is an excerpt from "Easter," which contains a wonderful musical metaphor.


Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise 
Without delays, 
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise 
With him mayst rise: 
That, as his death calcined 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 cross 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 music is but three parts vied 
And multiplied; 
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part, 
And make up our defects with his sweet art.


Photo:  Maxime Favier

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