In the 'verse' anthem the music alternates between sections for a solo voice or voices (called the 'verse') and the full choir. Organ, instruments, or both provide accompaniment. In the 'verses', solo voices were expected to ornament their parts for expressive effect. The 'full choir' sections providing contrast in volume and texture. Verse anthems developed and were very popular during the early 17th to the middle of the 18th centuries. At the Restoration of Charles II enthusiasm for the older 'motet' style of anthem returned, but composers continued to write verse anthems, sometimes on a grand scale, particularly for the Chapel Royal.
The 'Star Anthem' by John Bull was the most popular Jacobean verse anthem occurring in more contemporary sources than any other. Of the Jacobean anthems the most well known in the 21st century is This is the Record of John written by Orlando Gibbons for a visit of Archbishop Laud to his alma mater St. John's College Oxford. Verse anthems have been frequently transposed to suit modern English cathedral choir voices so Record of John exists as an alto solo as well as the original tenor.
Henry Purcell composed several splendid examples, usually for special occasions like the composition of his odes. For example The Way of God is an Undefiled Way apparently a Psalm setting, was to be sung by the famed bass soloist, the Reverend John Gostling, to celebrate King William III's safe and successful return from campaigning in Flanders. The larger anthems are often referred to as Symphony Anthems as they include, in addition to sections for 'verse' and 'full choir', passages for string instruments and organ alone, e.g. 'O sing unto the Lord' and 'Rejoice in the Lord always'.