bass viol

Most early New England meeting houses lacked organs in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and used other instruments to accompany the singing, such as this bass viol made and used by Justin Hitchcock (1752-1822) of Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1770. Courtesy Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield, MA

Robert Seagraves, educated at Cambridge in England, wrote this text in 1693, and James Nares, an organist, composed the tune in 1734. Both men were Englishmen.

a capella voices


Rise my soul, and stretch thy wings,
Thy better portion trace,
Rise from all, terrestrial things,
T'wards heav'n thy native place:
Sun and moon and stars decay;
Time shall soon this earth remove:
Rise, my soul, and haste away,
To seats prepared above.

Rivers to the ocean run,
Nor stay in all their course;
Fire, ascending, seeks the sun;
Both speed them to their source:
So a soul that's born of God
Pants to view his glorious face,
Upwards tends to his abode, To rest in his embrace.