God's Will


God's Will - (2008)     

Mildred Howells

for medium voice and piano


God meant me to be hungry,
So I should seek to find
Wisdom, and truth, and beauty,
To satisfy my mind.

God meant me to be lonely,
Lest I should wish to stay
In some green earthly Eden
Too long from heaven away.

God meant me to be weary,
That I should yearn to rest
This feeble, aching body
Deep in the earth's dark breast.

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 20" ]

Mildred Howells


Originally published in Harper's, October 1913, this profound yet simple text has been reproduced in a number of recent publications. Mildred Howells was daughter of William Dean Howells, and whose earliest poems were published in the influential American Anthology, ed. Edmund Clarence Stedman (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1900). Mildred Howells' poetry appeared with some frequency in Harper's and may be found today in their online archives.


The text is interesting in its choice of applying three human notions about standard experience -- hunger, loneliness and weariness -- and finding in them some reason and solace, quite apart from the modern penchant and whine of politics which decries such human experience as soluble by governmental means, although government regularly and consistently fails to address these three in any effective way. Notions of community in all that means in the political rhetoric of this moment in time are not the answer which Howells posits. Rather, she suggests openly that these facets of human life point us to toward God and that eternity which secularism fails to address.



This simple, three-strophe hymn alters the last stanza's vocal line for sheer emphasis, but else is a standard four-  and five-voice chorale. The vocal range is accessible for all voice types, with the gentle alteration between its underlying duple and few triple rhythms intended to further highlight the text's scansion.



The score for God's Will is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


God's Will