• Judith Weir
  • Love Bade Me Welcome (1997)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

For The Mayfield Singers, Orkney

Programme Note


In 1994, on the occasion of Aberdeen University’s 500th anniversary, I wrote two settings of 17th century English verse for choir and organ, entitled Two Human Hymns.
In 1997 I made an a cappella arrangement of the first of these ‘Hymns’, a setting of George Herbert’s poem ‘Love bade me welcome’, for a choir from Orkney, the Mayfield Singers, directed by Neil Price. The choir first performed it at a Sunday morning service at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway, during that city’s Millenium celebrations.

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of dust and sinne.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d any thing.

A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkinde, ungratefull? Ah, my deare,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I ?

Truth Lord, but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame ?
My deare, then will I serve.
You must sit downe, sayes Love, and taste my Meat:
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert


Love Bade Me Welcome