Love (III)

At St Andrew’s Leytonstone we had the final service of our much-loved parish priest, Fr Duncan, this morning. I’ve interrupted the Song Cycle pilgrimage to come back and play. He is retiring and we will all miss him loads.

I wanted to do something special for this service, so I asked him for a favourite poem. When he said “Love bade me welcome” by George Herbert, I was delighted; and I had already started working on it, anyway.George Herbert stained glass window

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.

“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”:
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.

It should be available on the Choral Public Domain Library from sometime tomorrow. I may yet revise it; there are some bits I’m not entirely happy with… but as things stand I needed to get something finished so that the choir would have music to learn! They sang it well this morning and there were positive comments from some in the congregation, anyway. And as always, this is licensed under a Creative Commons license, so anyone who wants to can use it as long as they do attribute me.

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