This is the second of six songs in the cycle, The House of Life, one of Vaughan Williams' finest vocal collections from his early years. The songs, scored for voice and piano, are based on the six sonnets of the same collective title by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Probably the most famous of the songs in the set is this one, "Silent Noon," whose text is an expression of the rapturous mood following love-making. Set in the country, it also details many lovely pastoral elements that surround the two lovers ("The pasture gleams and glooms/'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass").
The song opens in a serene and sunny mood, Vaughan Williams presenting a lovely, soaring melody of rich Romantic character. Here he achieves a passion and intensity of expression, without storming the heights or employing loud sonorities. The piano accompaniment consists of lilting, soothing chords in the outer sections and of delicate writing mostly in the upper register for the middle section, where the vocal line is, once again, lovely and richly Romantic. The transition back to the main theme is particularly touching, the voice yearning gently for a pregnant moment ("So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above") before the opening melody returns for a lovely close. In sum, this is one of the composer's earliest vocal masterpieces, whose ravishing beauty will appeal to most song fanciers.