Anne Bradstreet was born into a devout Puritan family in Northampton, England, and emigrated to America in 1630 with her husband and parents, joining the newly founded Massachusetts Bay Colony in which both her husband and her father later served as governors. Anne was well educated and, despite ill health and the demands of a large family, she was a writer and became the first female poet to be published both in America and England.
Frances Cockburn's setting opens and closes with tenor-soprano duets that could nicely represent the theme of the song if sung by soloists. The rest of the piece is in 4-part harmony, everyone moving together so that the words take pride of place.
Living in love has a great text for a wedding and is short enough to fit into any ceremony. For other wedding suggestions from Canasg, see My love is like a red, red rose, My true love hath my heart, Pokarekare ana, and Wedding song (Take my hand).
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. [many times]
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Anne Bradstreet (Original title: To My Dear and Loving Husband)
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