Monday, May 29, 2006

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life

One of the high points of a class I took this past semester (Anglican poets and preachers) was reading George Herbert and John Donne. They both had great poetry, although I liked Herbert's a little more, I think, for their form, but Donne's more for content (especially the Holy Sonnets).

Besides "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing," which has been set to many different tunes, a less well-known hymn by Herbert (at least in non-Anglican circles, it seems), is "Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life." Published in his work The Temple as "The Call," I like it for its play with the English language, as well as its meditative message.

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a way as gives us breath;
Such a truth as ends all strife,
Such a life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a light as shows a feast,
Such a feast as mends in length,
Such a strength as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a joy as none can move,
Such a love as none can part,
Such a heart as joys in love.

Maybe I'll have my church sing it soon. It would make people pay attention to what they're singing, hopefully, with its interesting phrases.

My other favorite poems from The Temple are "The Church Floor" and "Easter Wings," which would be less likely to be set as hymns, but are great poems. As to Donne, a great sonnet of his is #18, especially as I study for a Reformation comp.


millinerd said...

Did you look at Keble's The Church Year at all? I don't know much about it or if it qualifies as poetry, but I like what I've heard.

Lance said...

We did, as one of my classmates, Sister Eleanor Francis, reported on it. But, we unfortunately didn't spend much time on it (20 minutes, is all). We did sing a couple of hymns from it from the Hymnal 1940. They were good, but I wished we had more time to study him. As with any class, time was limited, so, we made a quick trip through the centuries.