There is no doubt that Byrd is in part expressing the anguish of his co-religionists, caught up in the destruction of their worship and hopes. As an Advent text, though, it implicitly expects salvation, as shown by the repeated versicle Rorate caeli, “Drop down ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down the just one.” Like Isaiah looking forward to the Messiah, Byrd died hoping for a Christmas deliverance.

Christopher Howse, singing the praises of composer William Byrd based on the striking new account by Kerry McCarthy, Byrd (via oupacademic)

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