The Dawning (Print)


Composer: Peter Hallock
Duration: Approx. 8 minutes

The Dawning was commissioned by The Cathedral of Saint John, Denver, Colorado; dedicated to Donald Pearson, Organist-Choirmaster and all of the musicians at Saint John’s. The music was originally set for men’s voices and organ and has subsequently been expanded to an alternate version for men’s voices and five violoncelli. The vocal parts are identical in both settings. However, if the cello score is used, the organ is not to be used. Recording taken from What Hand Divine and provided courtesy of The Compline Choir, Seattle, Washington.

The Dawning – PDF preview

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Ah! what time wilt thou come? when shall that cry,
‘The Bridegroom’s coming!’ fill the sky?
Shall it in the evening run when our words and works are done?
Or will thy all-surprising light break at midnight,
When either sleep or some dark pleasure possesseth mad man without measure?
Or shall these early fragrant hours unlock thy bowers,
And with their blush of light decay thy locks crowned with eternity?
Indeed it is the only time that with thy glory dost best chime:
All now are stirring, every field, full hymns doth yield,
The whole creation shakes off night, and for thy shadow looks the light;
Stars now vanish without number, sleepy planets set, and slumber,
The pursy clouds disband and scatter; all expect some sudden matter,
Not one beam triumphs, but from afar that morning-star.

O at what time so ever thou, unknown to us, the heavens wilt bow,
And with thy angels in the van descend to judge poor careless man,
Grant I may not like puddle lie in a corrupt security
Where, if a traveller water crave, he finds it dead, and in a grave.
But as this restless vocal spring all day and night doth run, and sing,
And though here born, yet is acquainted elsewhere, and flowing keeps untainted;
So let me all my busy age in thy free service engage,
And though, while here, of force I must have commerce sometimes with poor dust,
And in my flesh, though vile, and low, as this doth in her channel flow,
Yet let my course, my aim, my love and chief acquaintance be above;
|So when that day and hour shall come in which thyself will be the sun,
Thou’ll find me dressed and on my way watching the break of thy great day.

—Henry Vaughan (1622-1695)