Date of Award
L. Monique Pittman
George Herbert's collection of poems, The Temple (1633), portrays a reciprocal relationship between the human and divine, suggesting that humans are to house the glory of God and abide in Him. He seeks to portray the soul's internal architecture, with an allusion to the human heart as God's dwelling place. He uses his poetry to explore this relationship to a coexisting God, and through the framework of human-as-temple, the theme of habitation becomes prominent in his work. In "Love (III)" from The Temple, Herbert illustrates this, showing that just as God dwells in our hearts, we also receive sustenance and restoration from Him. "Love bade me welcome," from Ralph Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs (1911), places "Love (III)" in conversation with a musical score. An interdisciplinary analysis of Herbert's poem and Vaughan Williams' song demonstrates how the musical composition enlarges Herbert's dyadic vision of communal spirituality. Through interpolation and scoring choices, Vaughan Williams depicts the individual's participation in a wider holy community, and adapts Herbert's representation of God to invoke the Trinity as a model for Christian society.
Hwang, Nicole M., "In the House of God: Divine Authority and the Collectivity of Spiritual Experience in George Herbert's The Temple and Ralph Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs" (2018). Honors Theses. 188.
Herbert, George, 1593-1633. The temple; Vaughan Williams, Ralph, 1872-1958. Five mystical songs; Spirituality; Mystical union; Temple of God; Presence of God
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