Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The House and Gate of Heaven
A prayer of John Donne
Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music, no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitation of thy glory and dominion, world without end. Amen.
John Donne (1571-1631) was an Anglican priest in England during the time of King James I. Donne at first sought a career as a lawyer, but the king encouraged him to seek ordination. He eventually became Dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, and a well-known ‘metaphysical’ poet and writer.

This prayer became the text of a stunning Anthem for double choir, composed by organist William Harris (1883-1973). The Anthem is often recorded by Anglican choirs, and it can readily be found at your bookstore. Harris was organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor from 1933-1961, a post which was once held by John Merbecke.