Barthelemon At Vauxhall

A poem by Thomas Hardy

Francois Hippolite Barthelemon, first-fiddler at Vauxhall Gardens,
composed what was probably the most popular morning hymn-tune ever
written. It was formerly sung, full-voiced, every Sunday in most
churches, to Bishop Ken's words, but is now seldom heard.

He said: "Awake my soul, and with the sun," . . .
And paused upon the bridge, his eyes due east,
Where was emerging like a full-robed priest
The irradiate globe that vouched the dark as done.

It lit his face the weary face of one
Who in the adjacent gardens charged his string,
Nightly, with many a tuneful tender thing,
Till stars were weak, and dancing hours outrun.

And then were threads of matin music spun
In trial tones as he pursued his way:
"This is a morn," he murmured, "well begun:
This strain to Ken will count when I am clay!"

And count it did; till, caught by echoing lyres,
It spread to galleried naves and mighty quires.

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