Five Mystical Songs is a lesser known work by Vaughan Williams in which he set five poems by the fifteenth century poet George Herbert to music for baritone. I once had the privilege of singing in the chamber choir that accompanies some of the songs for a friend's senior recital. It was an unforgettable experience, and Glen Graham is probably the best male vocalist I will ever have the privilege to sing with.
"Love Bade Me Welcome"Lyrics taken from the jacket of a Vaughn Williams CD on the Hyperion label.
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.
A guest, I answer'd, 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 make the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marr'd 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.