It was the very noon of night (Joseph Barnby)

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  • (Posted 2018-12-20)   CPDL #52680:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2018-12-20).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 73 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from the edition on IMSLP. Note values halved. MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.

General Information

Title: It was the very noon of night
Composer: Joseph Barnby
Lyricist: Edward Churton

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredCarol   Meter: 14 14. 14 14. 14 14

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1897 in Hymn Tunes, no. 232, p. 148

Description:

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text


1 It was the very noon of night: the stars above the fold,
More sure than clock of chiming bell, the hour of midnight told:
When from the heavens there came a voice, and forms were seen to shine,
Still bright’ning as the music rose with light and love divine.
With love divine the song began; there shone a light serene:
O, who hath heard what I have heard, or seen what I have seen?

2 O ne'er could nightingale at dawn salute the rising day
With sweetness like that bird of song in his immortal lay:
O ne'er were wood-notes heard at eve by banks with poplar shade
So thrilling as the concert sweet by heavenly harpings made;
For love divine was in each chord, and fill'd each pause between:
O, who hath heard what I have heard, or seen what I have seen?

3 I roused me at the piercing strain, but shrunk as from the ray
Of summer lightning; all around so bright the splendour lay.
For oh, it mastered sight and sense, to see that glory shine,
To hear that minstrel in the clouds, who sang of Love Divine,
To see that form with birdlike wings, of more than mortal mien:
O, who hath heard what I have heard, or seen what I have seen?


4 When once the rapturous trance was past, that so my sense could bind,
I left my sheep to Him whose care breathed in the western wind;
I left them, for instead of snow, I trod on blade and flower,
And ice dissolved in starry rays at morning's gracious hour,
Revealing where on earth the steps of Love Divine had been;
O, who hath heard what I have heard, or seen what I have seen?

5 I hasted to a low-roofed shed, for so the Angel bade;
And bowed before the lowly rack where Love Divine was Iaid:
A newborn Babe, like tender Lamb, with Lion's strength there smiled;
For Lion's strength, immortal might, was in that new-born Child;
That Love Divine in childlike form had God for ever been:
O, who hath heard what I have heard, or seen what I have seen?