Begin the song (The Resurrection), Z 183 (Henry Purcell)

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  • (Posted 2010-05-25)   CPDL #21655:        (Sibelius 6)
Editor: Lewis Jones (submitted 2010-05-24).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 80 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Edited from facsimile. MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.

General Information

Title: Begin the Song (The Resurrection)
Composer: Henry Purcell

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Bass solo
Genre: SacredArt song

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1688

Description: From Abraham Cowley's "Pindarick" Odes.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Begin the song, and strike the living lyre!
Lo! How the years to come, a numerous and well fitted quire,
All hand in hand do decently advance,
And to my song with smooth and equal measures dance.

Whilst the dance lasts how long so e'er it be,
My music's voice shall bear it company
Till all gentle notes be drown'd
In the last trumpet's dreadful sound,
That to the spheres themselves shall silence bring,
Untune the universal string:
Then all the wide extended sky
And all th'harmonious world on high
And Virgil's sacred work shall die;
And he himself shall see in one fire shine
Rich nature's ancient
Troy, though built by hands divine.

Whom thunder's dismal noise
And all the prophets and apostles louder spake
And all the creatures' plain conspiring voice
Could not, whilst they liv'd, awake,
This mightier sound shall make
When dead to arise
And open tombs and open eyes
to the long sluggards of five thousand years,
This mightier sound shall make its hearer's ears.
Then shall the scatter'd atoms crowding come,
Back to their ancient home,
Some from birds, from fishes some,
Some from earth, and some from seas,
Some from beasts, and some from trees,
Some descend from clouds on high,
Some from metals upward fly
And, where th'attending soul naked and shiv'ring stands,
Meet, salute, and join their hands,
As dispers'd soldiers at the trumpet's call
Haste to their colours all,
Unhappy most, like tortur'd men,
Their joints new set, to be new wrack'd again:
To mountains the for shelter pray,
The mountains shake and run about no less confus'd than they,
Stop, my muse, allay thy vig'rous heat,
Kindled at a hint so great;
Hold thy Pindaric Pegasus closely in,
Which does to rage begin
And this steep hill would gallop up with violent course;
'Tis an unruly and hard mouth'd horse,
Fierce and unbroken yet,
Impatient of the spur or bit,
Now prances stately and anon flies o'er the place,
Disdains the servile law of any settled pace,
Conscious and proud of his own nat'ral force,
'Twill no unskilful touch endure,
But flings writer and reader too that sits not sure.