• This Fire
  • This is the Love
  • Eternal Praises
  • In Paradise
  • The Angel’s Praise
  • Endless Love

  • Duration: 26 minutes
  • Chorus: SATB
  • Instrumentation: Piano & String Quartet
  • Published by: GIA Publications

Patrick’s librettist brother Andrew adapted the writings of Richard Rolle – the 14th Century hermit and mystic – into these six choral ‘songs’.  As well as capturing a deep and passionate spiritual journey, they possess alluring pictorial qualities and flowing poetic lines which make them ideal for rich and varied choral treatment.  Each song may be performed as a stand-alone, the first two movements being particularly suitable in this respect.  When performed as a whole, it is hoped the full impact of Rolle’s mystical experiences will be portrayed.

Rolle believed that there are three phases of the soul’s movement towards God – heat, sweetness and song.  This Fire aims to create a sense of purifying fire being kindled in the human soul while This is the Love recognises the fire as a ‘shining’, enlightening love.  Eternal Praises is an expression of that joy which sweetness brings once the mind has become changed through heat.  In Paradise speaks of a quieter, more peaceful ecstasy.  The final two movements rejoice in the gift of song.  The Angel’s Praise becomes almost breathless in its desire to “sing all that before I said”.  Endless Love is essentially a chorale which unfolds into an eternal “ghostly symphony”.  The soul has moved towards its maker and, now that it is renewed, desires nothing more than to glorify God through song.

Born c.1300 in Thirsk in Yorkshire, Richard Rolle came from a poor background but showed exceptional gifts as a child and was sponsored by the Archdeacon of Durham to attend Oxford. He rejected the life of an academic, however, choosing instead to become a hermit – first as an itinerant and then supported by a wealthy patron to live a life of prayer and writing.  Having been termed ‘The English St. Francis’, he was a pioneer of the English language and English Spirituality.

The text which is set to music here is based on the English translation by Richard Misyn (1435). It is all taken from The Fire of Love apart from one excerpt which is from the Legenda.

The Sheet Music for This Fire and This Is The Love is also available as standalone works.

Click here for more information on The Fire of Love >

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1. This Fire

This fire was kindled inwardly
Of Ghostly cause:
It was a gift the Maker gave.
I am molten in a great desire
For ghostly sweetness:
Lifted high
O’er earthly things.

With fire untrowed1
And thirling2 flame
The lover’s soul doth burn.
It gladdens all things
And sparkles all things

1untried            2piercing/penetrating

2. This is the Love

This is the love that
Cannot be beguiled
By creature
Or scorned
In heaven.
Its flame works more keenly
Than a burning coal
To make our souls
Both to burn and shine.

He kindles with heat
The wholeness
Of my heart
And with His light
Enlightens all my
Inmost parts.

3. Eternal Praises

When a soul
With eternal praises sounds
And thought is turned to song
The mind is changed
And becomes

Endless delight
In sweetness
Is my pure desire.
I give my all
to him
That loneliness appears
Most sweet to me.

4. In Paradise

O sweet Charity
That takes
And moistens the mind.
Thus it warms;
I know not how:
And in
This wilderness
I abide
In paradise.

5. The Angel’s Praise

Engrossed in heavenly things,
I know not how,
I felt within
A symphony of song.
The joyful song
Of God’s love
Taken into
The mind:
The sweetness of the
Angel’s praise:
That Ghostly mirth,
That Everlasting Praising.

My thought to melody
Was turned.
Music voiced itself in me,
I was impelled to sing
All that before
I said.

6. Endless Love

My soul like a singer
Burns with endless love!
She loves and seethes,
Enlarged by desire:
Glorifies God
Celestial fires.

Man has eaten
Angels’ bread:
Nature is renewed:
And songful
With great sweetness
Shall continually sing.
In a ghostly symphony.

Words: Andrew Hawes (1954 –  ) adapted from The Fire of Love by Richard Rolle (ca. 1300 – 1349)