Saturday, 14 December 2013

Salisbury Cathedral - 12

Here we see the impressive hour bell.

Every September one of the Cathedral guides takes all the new choristers up the tower. The highlight is witnessing the striking of the clock at noon. The boys and girls are told to sit down quietly and count to twelve. This year it went ... eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen ... and there were shrieks of excitement from the bell tower! Unknown to the Guide, there was a small funeral taking place in one of the side chapels, and the coffin was leaving by a side door at precisely 12 noon. The Head Verger was following the twelve stokes of noon with further manual ringing of the hour bell. Fortunately, the mourners appeared to be unaware of all the howling taking place above!

Wake, O wake! with tidings thrilling
The watchmen all the air are filling,
Arise, Jerusalem, arise!
Midnight strikes! no more delaying,
'The hour has come!' we hear them saying.
Where are ye all, ye virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes in sight,
Raise high your torches bright!
The wedding song
Swells loud and strong:
Go forth and join the festal throng.

Sion hears the watchmen shouting,
Her heart leaps up with joy undoubting,
She stands and waits with eager eyes;
See her Friend from heaven descending,
Adorned with truth and grace unending!
Her light burns clear, her star doth rise.
Now come, thou precious Crown,
Lord Jesu, God's own Son!
Let us prepare
To follow there,
Where in thy supper we may share.

Every soul in thee rejoices;
From men and from angelic voices
Be glory given to thee alone!
Now the gates of pearl receive us,
Thy presence never more shall leave us,
We stand with Angels round thy throne.
Earth cannot give below
The bliss thou dost bestow.
Grant us to raise,
To length of days
The triumph-chorus of thy praise.

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