Noble Numbers

For medium voice and keyboard.

Words by Robert Herrick (1591-1674).

Published by Robish Music.

These are amongst Betty Roe's most famous and frequently performed works.  They have been recorded by Tim Travers Brown on his March 2009 CD "The Frostbound Wood".

Originally written for Countertenor and Harpsichord these devotional songs also work well sung by a Mezzo Soprano or Baritone and piano.

1. To His Saviour, a Child; A Present, by a Child

Go, pretty child, and bear this flower
Unto thy little Saviour;
And tell Him, by that bud now blown,
He is the Rose of Sharon known.
When thou hast said so, stick it there
Upon His bib or stomacher;
And tell Him, for good handsel too,
That thou hast brought a whistle new,
Made of a clean strait oaten reed,
To charm His cries at time of need.
Tell Him, for coral, thou hast none,
But if thou hadst, He should have one;
But poor thou art, and known to be
Even as moneyless as He.
Lastly, if thou canst win a kiss
From those mellifluous lips of His;
Then never take a second on,
To spoil the first impression.

2. To God; An Anthem sung in the Chappell at Whitehall

My God, I'm wounded by my sin,
And sore without, and sick within.
I come to Thee, in hope to find
Salve for my body and my mind.
In Gilead though no balm be found
To ease this smart or cure this wound,
Yet, Lord, I know there is with Thee
All saving health, and help for me.
Then reach Thou forth that hand of Thine,
That pours in oil, as well as wine,
And let it work, for I'll endure
The utmost smart, so Thou wilt cure.

3. To God

God gives not only corn for need,
But likewise sup'rabundant seed;
Bread for our service, bread for show,
Meat for our meals, and fragments too:
He gives not poorly, taking some
Between the finger and the thumb;
But for our glut and for our store,
Fine flour press'd down, and running o'er.

4. To His Angrie God

Through all the night
Thou dost me fright,
And hold'st mine eyes from sleeping;
And day by day,
My cup can say
My wine is mix'd with weeping.

Thou dost my bread
With ashes knead
Each evening and each morrow;
Mine eye and ear
Do see and hear
The coming in of sorrow.

Thy scourge of steel,
Ah me! I feel
Upon me beating ever:
While my sick heart
With dismal smart
Is disacquainted never.

Long, long, I'm sure,
This can't endure,
But in short time 'twill please Thee,
My gentle God,
To burn the rod,
Or strike so as to ease me.

5. To his sweet saviour

Night hath no wings to him that cannot sleep,
And time seems then not for to fly, but creep;
Slowly her chariot drives, as if that she
Had broke her wheel[, or crack'd her axletree.
Just so it is with me, who, list'ning, pray
The winds to blow the tedious night away,
That I might see the cheerful, peeping day.
Sick is my heart! O Saviour! do Thou please
To make my bed soft in my sicknesses:
Lighten my candle, so that I beneath
Sleep not for ever in the vaults of death;
Let me Thy voice betimes i' th' morning hear:
Call, and I'll come; say Thou the when, and where.
Draw me but first, and after Thee I'll run
And make no one stop till my race be done.