Monday, March 7, 2016

Song: A Parable of “Dives and Lazarus”

As it fell out upon one day, rich Dives made a feast,
And he invited all his friends, and gentry of the best.

Then Lazarus laid him down and down and down at Dives door:
“Some meat and drink, brother, Diverus, bestow upon the poor.”
“Thou’rt none of my brothers, Lazarus, that liest begging at my door;
“No meat, nor drink will I give thee, nor bestow upon the poor.”

Then Lazarus laid him down and down, all under Dives’ wall:
Some meat, some drink, brother Diverus, for hunger starve I shall.”

“Thou’rt none of my brothers, Lazarus, that liest begging at my gate;
“No meat, no drink will I give thee, for Jesus Christ His sake.”

Then Dives sent out his hungry dogs, to bite him as he lay;
They hadn’t the power to bite one bite, but licked his sores away.
Then Dives sent to his merry men, to worry poor Lazarus away;
They’d not the power to strike one stroke, but flung their whips away.

As it fell out upon one day, poor Lazarus sickened and died;
There came two angels out of Heaven, his soul therein to guide.

“Rise up! Rise up! Brother Lazarus, and go along with me;
“For you’ve a place prepared in Heaven, to sit upon on an angel’s knee.”

As it fell out upon one day, rich Dives sickened and died;
There came two serpents out of hell, his soul therein to guide.

“Rise up! Rise up! Brother Diverus, and come along with me;
“There is a place provided in hell for wicked men like thee.”

Then Dives looked up with his eyes and saw poor Lazarus blest;
“Give me one drop of water, Brother Lazarus, to quench my flaming thirst.”

“O, was I now but alive again the space of one half hour!
“O, that I had my peace again then the devil should have no power.”

Source: A traditional English carol, possibly from Herefordshire, set to music and arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, c. 1920; found online.