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The Shepherds Worship

The Adoration of the Shepherds, Caravaggio (1571-1610)


The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymn for Thee?
My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is Thy word: the streams, Thy grace
Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Outsing the daylight hours.
Then will we chide the sun for letting night
Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.
I will go searching, till I find a sun
Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
As frost-nipped suns look sadly.
Then will we sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay:
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev'n His beams sing, and my music shine.

--George Herbert (1593-1633)

Reader Comments (6)

Charette, just so you know: this piece is also set to music in the Vaughan Williams "Hodie," and it is glorious.

December 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

I love that I just logged on and found my very own personalized comment waiting for me. Thanks, Luisa. You knew that was going to be my very next question, didn't you? It just begs to be sung. Gorgeous poem. Wonderful metaphors. And I love the Caravaggio.

You should compile these posts into a book. That would make the loveliest Christmas gift.

December 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercharrette

I love that painting. It's so different.

December 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Lyon

Every morning I am amazed at the sheer quantity of religious art and poetry out there for you to choose from and then I remember that I think I was taught at one time that religion was pretty much the only subject for painting for a while--poetry wasn't so confined yet it was still the fashion of the day. And like Charrette says--this one is so gorgeous!

December 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Ashworth

Ahhhhh.... just, ahhhhhh. Inhaling deeply and with pleasure.

December 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen of A2eatwrite

That Caravaggio looks very special...as if there's transparant layers on it. Weird

December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoofball

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