Prayer Song: Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life

A friend prompted me to stop slacking and post more of these. So here’s one for this week. The text is from the amazing English poet George Herbert. The tune comes from Ralph Vaughan Williams, who set five of Herbert’s texts in a song cycle for baritone, choir, and orchestra entitled Five Mystical Songs. Go listen to the whole set. This one, the most simple, is probably the best known and is often performed alone as a simple art song with piano. It’s in many hymnals, too.

The lines “Such a truth as ends all strife,” “Such a strength as makes his guest,” and “such a heart as joys in love” are three of my favorites. They’re each, alone, worth parking yourself on the couch for a few minutes of pondering. (And while you’re at it, if you understand “Such a feast as mends in length,” please enlighten me.)

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.

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