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His Litany to the Holy Spirit

Robert Herrick 1591 (London) – 1674 (Dean Prior)



In the hour of my distress,
When temptations me oppress,
And when I my sins confess,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When I lie within my bed,
Sick in heart, and sick in head,
And with doubts discomforted,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the house doth sigh and weep,
And the world is drown'd in sleep,
Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

Whe the artless doctor sees
No one hope but of his fees,
And his skill runs on the lees,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When his potion and his pill,
Has or none or little skill,
Meet for nothing, but to kill,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the passing-bell doth toll,
And the Furies in a shoal
Come to fright a parting soul,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the tapers now burn blue,
And the comforters are few,
And that number more than true,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the priest his last hath prayed,
And I nod to what is said,
'Cause my speech is now decayed,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When (God knows) I'm toss'd about,
Either with despair or doubt,
Yet before the glass be out,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the Tempter me pursu'th
With the sins of all my youth,
And half damns me with untruth,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the flames and hellish cries
Fright mine ears and fright mine eyes,
And all terrors me surprise,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

When the Judgment is revealed,
And that open'd which was seal'd,
When to Thee I have appeal'd,
Sweet Spirit comfort me!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:21 min read
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Robert Herrick

Robert Herrick was born in London, England, in 1591. He was apprenticed to a goldsmith (his uncle, Sir William), but went to Cambridge, at St John's, in 1613. He was ordained at Peterborough in 1623 and became chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham a few years later. "Hesperides" - a collection of 1200 lyrical poems - was published in 1648 and it remained his magnum opus. Herrick died in 1674, aged 83. more…

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