Part The First ... THOU mastering me God! (2010) for soprano and piano with Megan Stapleton

Thomas Oboe Lee

About this work:

Megan Stapleton, soprano; Diane Braun, piano.

Recorded at NEC Recording Studio. July 28, 2011. Mike Kemp, audio engineer.


1. THOU mastering me God! giver of breath and bread; World’s strand, sway of the sea; Lord of living and dead; Thou hast bound bones and veins in me, fastened me flesh, And after it almost unmade, what with dread, Thy doing: and dost thou touch me afresh? Over again I feel thy finger and find thee.

2. I did say yes O at lightning and lashed rod; Thou heardst me truer than tongue confess Thy terror, O Christ, O God; Thou knowest the walls, altar and hour and night: The swoon of a heart that the sweep and the hurl of thee trod Hard down with a horror of height: And the midriff astrain with leaning of, laced with fire of stress.

3. The frown of his face Before me, the hurtle of hell Behind, where, where was a, where was a place? I whirled out wings that spell And fled with a fling of the heart to the heart of the Host. My heart, but you were dovewinged, I can tell, Carrier-witted, I am bold to boast, To flash from the flame to the flame then, tower from the grace to the grace.

4. I am soft sift In an hourglass—at the wall Fast, but mined with a motion, a drift, And it crowds and it combs to the fall; I steady as a water in a well, to a poise, to a pane, But roped with, always, all the way down from the tall Fells or flanks of the voel, a vein Of the gospel proffer, a pressure, a principle, Christ’s gift.

5. I kiss my hand To the stars, lovely-asunder Starlight, wafting him out of it; and Glow, glory in thunder; Kiss my hand to the dappled-with-damson west: Since, tho’ he is under the world’s splendour and wonder, His mystery must be instressed, stressed; For I greet him the days I meet him, and bless when I understand.

6. Not out of his bliss Springs the stress felt Nor first from heaven (and few know this) Swings the stroke dealt— Stroke and a stress that stars and storms deliver, That guilt is hushed by, hearts are flushed by and melt— But it rides time like riding a river (And here the faithful waver, the faithless fable and miss).

7. It dates from day Of his going in Galilee; Warm-laid grave of a womb-life grey; Manger, maiden’s knee; The dense and the driven Passion, and frightful sweat; Thence the discharge of it, there its swelling to be, Though felt before, though in high flood yet— What none would have known of it, only the heart, being hard at bay. 

8. Is out with it! Oh, We lash with the best or worst Word last! How a lush-kept plush-capped sloe Will, mouthed to flesh-burst, Gush!—flush the man, the being with it, sour or sweet, Brim, in a flash, full!—Hither then, last or first, To hero of Calvary, Christ, ’s feet— Never ask if meaning it, wanting it, warned of it—men go.

9. Be adored among men, God, three-numberèd form; Wring thy rebel, dogged in den, Man’s malice, with wrecking and storm. Beyond saying sweet, past telling of tongue, Thou art lightning and love, I found it, a winter and warm; Father and fondler of heart thou hast wrung: Hast thy dark descending and most art merciful then.

0. With an anvil-ding And with fire in him forge thy will Or rather, rather then, stealing as Spring Through him, melt him but master him still: Whether at once, as once at a crash Paul, Or as Austin, a lingering-out sweet skill, Make mercy in all of us, out of us all Mastery, but be adored, but be adored King.

Year composed: 2010
Duration: 00:27:00
Ensemble type: Unknown:unknown 1
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 Soprano

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