Let all the world in every corner sing

Let all the world in every corner sing. George Herbert* (1593-1633). From Herbert’s posthumous collection The Temple (Cambridge, 1633) where it is entitled ‘Antiphon (I)’, this was the first of Herbert’s poems to be used as a hymn without significant adaptation when it was published in Church Hymns (1871). An antiphon is ‘a composition, in verse or prose, consisting of verses or passages sung alternately by two choirs in worship’ (Oxford English Dictionary). In the original poem, this is made clear by alternating the ‘Cho.’ (Chorus) first two lines ‘Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing/My God and King’ with a four-line ‘Vers.’ (Versicle) to create the antiphonal effect: so the poem...

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