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Canticle I: ‘My beloved is mine and I am his’ (1947) Op.40

Canticle I: ‘My beloved is mine and I am his’

Ev’n like two little bank-divided brooks,
That wash the pebbles with their wanton streams,
And having rang’d and search’d a thousand nooks,
Meet both at length at silver-breasted Thames,
Where in a greater current they conjoin:
So I my best-beloved’s am; so he is mine.
Ev’n so we met; and after long pursuit,
Ev’n so we joyn’d; we both became entire;
No need for either to renew a suit,
For I was flax and he was flames of fire:
Our firm-united souls did more than twine;
So I my best-beloved’s am; so he is mine.
If all those glitt’ring Monarchs that command
The servile quarters of this earthly ball,
Should tender, in exchange, their shares of land,
I would not change my fortunes for them all:
Their wealth is but a counter to my coin:
The world’s but theirs; but my beloved’s mine.
Nor Time, nor Place, nor Chance, nor Death can bow
My least desires unto the least remove;
He’s firmly mine by oath; I his by vow;
He’s mine by faith; and I am his by love;
He’s mine by water; I am his by wine,
Thus I my best-beloved’s am; thus he is mine.
He is my Altar; I, his Holy Place;
I am his guest; and he, my living food;
I’m his by penitence; he mine by grace;
I’m his by purchase; he is mine, by blood;
He’s my supporting elm; and I his vine;
Thus I my best beloved’s am; thus he is mine.
He gives me wealth; I give him all my vows:
I give him songs; he gives me length of days;
With wreaths of grace he crowns my longing brows,
And I his temples with a crown of Praise,
Which he accepts: an everlasting sign,
That I my best-beloved’s am; that he is mine.

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