PODCAST: ‘One Single Tear’ by Kerry Andrew

We are very proud to make available this recording of a new work by composer and performer Kerry Andrew. It is a setting of verses from George Herbert’s poem ‘Praise (III)’, first published in 1633. The piece was commissioned as part of Clare Whister’s residency at the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions in 2013-14. 


Kerry Andrew’s song is a setting of two verses from Praise (III), and features also in Natalie Steed’s podcast ‘One Single Tear’. The full text of the poem is below.


by George Herbert

Lord, I will mean and speak thy praise,
Thy praise alone,
My busie heart shall spin it all my dayes:
And when it stops for want of store,
Then will I wring it with a sigh or grone,
That thou mayst yet have more.

When thou dost favour any action,
It runnes, it flies:
All things concurre to give it a perfection.
That which had but two legs before,
When thou dost blesse, hath twelve: one wheel dost rise
To twentie then, or more.

But when thou dost on businesse blow,
It hangs, it clogs:
Not all the teams of Albion1 in a row
Can hale or draw it out of doore.
Legs are but stumps, and Pharoahs wheels but logs,
And struggling hinders more.

Thousands of things do thee employ
In ruling all
This spacious globe: Angels must have their joy,
Devils their rod, the sea his shore,
The windes their stint: and yet when I did call,
Thou heardst my call, and more.

I have not lost one single tear:
But when mine eyes
Did weep to heav’n, they found a bottle there
(As we have boxes for the poor)
Readie to take them in; yet of a size
That would contain much more.

But after thou hadst slipt a drop
From thy right eye,
(Which there did hang like streamers neare the top
Of some fair church, to show the sore
And bloudie battell which thou once didst trie)
The glass was full and more.

Wherefore I sing. Yet since my heart,
Though press’d, runnes thin;
O that I might some other hearts convert,
And so take up at use good store:
That in thy chest there might be coming in
Both all my praise, and more!

Read about and listen to all of the related podcasts.

Read more about ‘Weather, tears, and waterways’.