Hymn by Hymn

STLT#107, Now Sing We of the Brave of Old

Each morning, as I sit down to write about my singing experience, I sometimes find poetry flows out; other times theology or history; other times musicology; often humor and snark. This morning, only one thing came to mind:

“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of Kings.”  (Richard II, Act 2, Scene 2)

And I don’t know if I have much more to add this morning – Shakespeare pretty well sums up what this feels like for me. Sure, I’m glad we have a Palestrina tune, and no, I’m not saying I wouldn’t use this in the right circumstances. But in this run up to days of action, I’m not sure I’m much in the mood for resting on our ancestors’ laurels. And today, that’s what this feels like. I don’t want us to sit upon the ground and tell the old tales, I want us to get up and do something. I want us to follow their example, not be mesmerized into smug inaction by their example.

We are the people we should be singing about. Alleluia.

Now sing we of the brave of old
who would not sell themselves for gold,
yet left us riches manifold; Alleluia!

Of those who fought a goodly fight
for liberty, for truth and right,
their patient love their chiefest might; Alleluia!

Who, when no gleam did point the way,
pressed ever on, by night, by day,
and, spite of pain, did ever say Alleluia!

Who long the world’s old sorrows bore
and toiled and loved and suffered sore,
and, being dead, live evermore; Alleluia!

(Postscript about the photo: Yes, David Tennant did play Richard II, in 2013.)

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