Monday, December 6

The Lamb (1789) and Jonathan Richman (1978)

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

-- William Blake, 1789

'The Lamb' can be sung to the melody of the French folk song 'Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman', used by Mozart in Blake's time (some writers call Blake and Mozart spiritual twins; both were influenced by Freemasonry). It's also known as the melody of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'

British composer John Tavener wrote a beautiful choral setting for 'The Lamb' in 1982. He explains:

The Lamb was written twenty-two years ago for my then 3-year old nephew, Simon. It was composed from seven notes in an afternoon. Blake's child-like vision perhaps explains The Lamb's great popularity in a world that is starved of this precious and sacred dimension in almost every aspect of life.

Listen to John Tavener's 'The Lamb'

'Summer Morning'
, from Rock 'n' Roll With The Modern Lovers (snippet heard at beginning of interview)

1 comment: