Thursday, 28 June 2012

'Against all ills the fortified strong place'

Vaughan Williams' setting elevates this Dante Gabriel Rossetti poem, 'Heart's Haven' (of which the best thing is the title) to something very tender and beautiful:

Sometimes she is a child within mine arms,
Cowering beneath dark wings that love must chase,—
With still tears showering and averted face,
Inexplicably fill'd with faint alarms:
And oft from mine own spirit's hurtling harms
I crave the refuge of her deep embrace,—
Against all ills the fortified strong place
And sweet reserve of sovereign counter-charms.

And Love, our light at night and shade at noon,
Lulls us to rest with songs, and turns away
All shafts of shelterless tumultuous day.
Like the moon's growth, his face gleams through his tune;
And as soft waters warble to the moon,
Our answering spirits chime one roundelay.

(warble? roundelay? Pah. Whatever, Rossetti.)

1 comment:

Supertradmum said...

I love the songs of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Thanks for this post.