Monday, 8 June 2009

How Shall I Sing That Majesty?

We sang this hymn at college Evensong yesterday, to the barnstorming tune Coe Fen. The last verse always makes me a little teary!

How shall I sing that Majesty
which angels do admire?
Let dust in dust and silence lie;
sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.
thousands of thousands stand around
thy throne, O God most high;
ten thousand times ten thousand sound
thy praise; but who am I?

Thy brightness unto them appears,
whilst I thy footsteps trace;
a sound of God comes to my ears,
but they behold thy face.
They sing because thou art their Sun;
Lord, send a beam on me;
for where heaven is but once begun
there alleluias be.

Enlighten with faith's light my heart,
inflame it with love's fire;
then shall I sing and bear a part
with that celestial choir.
I shall, I fear, be dark and cold,
with all my fire and light;
yet when thou dost accept their gold,
Lord, treasure up my mite.

How great a being, Lord, is thine,
which doth all beings keep!
Thy knowledge is the only line
to sound so vast a deep.
thou art a sea without a shore,
a sun without a sphere;
thy time is now and evermore,
thy place is everywhere.

John Mason (1645-1694)

1 comment:

Trychay said...

I share your feelings. This is a fine and expansive text allied to an exceptionally powerful tune. It always inspires me to find new and imaginative accompaniments whenever I play it on the organ.