Come down, O Love divine (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

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Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2011-01-18).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 78 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Arranged with two descants. The synthesized MP3 performance has Oboe and English horn doubling the two descants. Revised version uploaded 2011-05-25. Copyright by the arranger for CPDL, may be freely copied, distributed, performed, or recorded. Please inform the arranger of any performances of this work.
Arranger: Charles H. Giffen, 2011.

General Information

Title: Come down, O Love divine
Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Lyricist: Bianco of Sienacreate page (?-1434)

Number of voices: 4 plus 2vv   Voicing: SATB plus 2 Descants
Genre: SacredHymn   Tune: Down Ampney   Meter: 66 11. D

Language: English
Instruments: Organ

First published: 1906

Description: Lyrics: Bianco of Siena (?-1434) (Discendi, Amor santo); appeared in Laudi spirituali del Bianco da Siena, edited by T. Bini, 1851; translated from Italian to English by Richard F. Littledale in The People’s Hymnal, 1867.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.