“Earth shall be fair and all her folk be one”

Following my post mentioning the hymn “I vow to thee my country” earlier, it was pointed out to me that:

https://twitter.com/#!/sjcoltrane/status/135762360131530753

I hadn’t known, but in the interests of balancing things up a little, the anthem at the choral evensong I attended this evening was also by Holst, with words this time by Clifford Bax. These words are, I suspect, far more in tune with Holst’s socialism (though I’m not exactly bowled over by their theology):

Turn back O Man, forswear thy foolish ways.
Old now is Earth, and none may count her days,
Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,
Still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim,
“Turn back, O Man, forswear thy foolish ways.”

Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.
Age after age their tragic empires rise,
Built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:
Would man but wake from out his haunted sleep,
Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.

Earth shall be fair, and all her people one:
Nor till that hour shall God’s whole will be done.
Now, even now, once more from earth to sky,
Peals forth in joy man’s old undaunted cry:
“Earth shall be fair and all her folk be one!”

Holst’s music is based on Old 124th from the Genevan Psalter, and the anthem can be heard in full here:

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