The Best-Beloved

  • song for high voice (soprano or tenor) and piano

  • Duration 3'


by Francis Quarles

privately commissioned


available for sale from this website
each copy for GBP7.00 or USD14.00


The Best-Beloved
Francis Quarles (1635)

[the words in brackets are not set in this song]

E'en like two little bank-dividing brooks,
That wash the pebbles with their wanton streams,
And having ranged and searched a thousand nooks,
Meet both at length in silver-breasted Thames,
Where in a greater current they conjoin:
So I my best-beloved's am; so he is mine.

E'en so we met; and after long pursuit,
E'en so we joined, we both became entire;
No need for either to renew a suit,
For I was flax, and he was flames of fire
Our firm-united souls did more than twine;
So I my best-beloved's am; so he is mine...

Nor time, nor place, nor chance, nor death can bow
My least desires unto the last remove;
He's firmly mine by oath; I his by vow;
He's mine by faith; and I am his by love;
[He's mine by water; I am his by wine:]
Thus I my best-beloved's am; thus he is mine.

[He is my altar; I, his holy place;
I am his guest; and he, my living food;
I'm his by penitence; he mine by grace;
I'm his by purchase; he is mine by blood;
He's my supporting elm; and I his vine:
Thus I my best-beloved's am; thus he is mine...]