Few great poems make good hymns, but this is a supreme exception. George Herbert could have risen to high office in the state and Church, but chose the life of a priest at the small country church of Bemerton, in Wiltshire. Most of his poems are too intricate to be hymns, but this, despite some archaic expressions, speaks simply of his dependence on God and his total commitment to praise. The music in the words is strong, and gives the tune-writer a beginning, with the alternation of long and short lines. Malcolm Archer provides a reflective tune, perhaps as a foil to the one that is better known. In each short line the last-but-one word bears the weight of the meaning, and this is given a leaning group of two notes to express its importance. Redland is a district of Bristol where the composer was living at the time.
from notes by Alan Luff © 1999