England's Antiphon eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about England's Antiphon.

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I have thus traced—­how slightly!—­the course of the religious poetry of England, from simple song, lovingly regardful of sacred story and legend, through the chant of philosophy, to the full-toned lyric of adoration.  I have shown how the stream sinks in the sands of an evil taste generated by the worship of power and knowledge, and that a new growth of the love of nature—­beauty counteracting not contradicting science—­has led it by a fair channel back to the simplicities of faith in some, and to a holy questioning in others; the one class having for its faith, the other for its hope, that the heart of the Father is a heart like ours, a heart that will receive into its noon the song that ascends from the twilighted hearts of his children.

Gladly would I have prayed for the voices of many more of the singers of our country’s psalms.  Especially do I regret the arrival of the hour, because of the voices of living men and women.  But the time is over and gone.  The twilight has already embrowned the gray glooms of the cathedral arches, and is driving us forth to part at the door.

But the singers will yet sing on to him that hath ears to hear.  When he returns to seek them, the shadowy door will open to his touch, the long-drawn aisles receding will guide his eye to the carven choir, and there they still stand, the sweet singers, content to repeat ancient psalm and new song to the prayer of the humblest whose heart would join in England’s Antiphon.


[1] The rhymes of the first and second and of the fourth and fifth lines throughout the stanzas, are all, I think, what the French call feminine rhymes, as in the words “sleeping,” “weeping.”  This I think it better not to attempt retaining, because the final unaccented syllable is generally one of those e’s which, having first become mute, have since been dropped from our spelling altogether.

[2] For the grammatical interpretation of this line, I am indebted to Mr. Richard Morris. Shall is here used, as it often is, in the sense of must, and rede is a noun; the paraphrase of the whole being, “Son, what must be to me for counsel?” “What counsel must I follow?

[3] “Do not blame me, it is my nature.”

[4] Mon is used for man or woman:  human being.  It is so used in Lancashire still:  they say mon to a woman.

[5] “They weep quietly and becomingly.”  I think there must be in this word something of the sense of gently,-uncomplainingly.

[6] “And are shrunken (clung with fear) like the clay.” So here is the same as as.  For this interpretation I am indebted to Mr. Morris.

[7] “It is no wonder though it pleases me very ill.”

[8] I think the poet, wisely anxious to keep his last line just what it is, was perplexed for a rhyme, and fell on the odd device of saying, for “both day and night,” “both day and the other.”

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England's Antiphon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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