Prepare new honors for His name, and songs before unknown.

  1. Come, gracious Spirit, heavnly Dove,
    With light and comfort from above;
    Be Thou our Guardian, Thou our Guide,
    O’er every thought and step preside.
  1. The light of truth to us display,
    And make us know and choose Thy way,
    Plant holy fear in every heart,
    That we from God may ne’er depart.
  1. Lead us to holiness, the road
    Which we must take to dwell with God,
    Lead us to Christ, the living way
    Nor let us from his pastures stray.
  1. Lead us to God, our final rest
    To be with Him forever blest,
    Lead us to heaven, its bliss to share,
    Fullness of joy forever there.

Notes on the Descant

The highest note of William Bradbury’s restrained, yet beautiful melody is a C#, leaving plenty of headroom for a descant written above his melody and harmony. The descant opens by rising against the static soprano line, then descends with an accented passing tone and a 9-8 suspension at the end of the first line (“fi-nal rest”). In the second line, adding the fifth voice allows a 4-3 suspension on the lyric “Him” to fill in the “missing” third of the V-chord. The third and fourth lines open with the lowered 7th scale degree (“ta” or “te” in solfege), which resolves downward in the middle of each line, to accentuate the IV-chord. The 7th degree is raised in the latter half of each line, to lead up to high “do” at the end of the third line (“to share”), and to set up a 4-5 retardation at the end of the fourth line (“…er there”).

The octave formed between the descant and the soprano, both singing F# at the end of the fourth line, is the climax of the descant. As the timing and pitch of the melody are attenuated in the fifth line, the descant follows suit, descending by half and whole step. The lowered 7th makes a fleeting final appearance; in the next-to-last measure, the descant continues to move in quarter notes above the half notes in the melody (“lyrics for-ev-er there”), employing a 9-8 suspension on the first syllable of “ever” and introducing the V7 chord on the last beat of the next-to-last measure.

Come Gracious Spirit, Heavenly Dove

Simon Browne, 1720


Scores MIDI Audio
Shape notes Round notesSATB w/Desc. D S A T B