This beautiful piece for double choir by William Harris (1883-1973) takes its text from Edmund Spenser (1552-1599). Here it's sung by the University of London Chamber Choir at Ely Cathedral.
FAIRE is the heaven, where happy soules have place
In full enjoyment of felicitie;
Whence they doe still behold the glorious face
Of the Divine, Eternall Majestie;
Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins,
Which all with golden wings are overdight.
And those eternall burning Seraphins,
Which from their faces dart out fiery light;
Yet fairer than they both and much more bright,
Be the Angels and Archangels, which attend
On God’s owne person without rest or end.
These then in faire each other farre excelling,
As to the Highest they approach more neare,
Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling,
Fairer than all the rest which there appeare.
Though all their beauties joyned together were;
How then can mortall tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse?
- Edmund Spenser