Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)


IN 1 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,        5
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,        10
Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!
When the passing bell doth toll,
And the furies in a shoal
Come to fright a parting soul,        15
      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!        20
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,        25
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,        30
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,        35
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!
When the judgment is reveal’d,
And that open’d which was seal’d,
When to Thee I have appeal’d,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!        40
Note 1. The Rev. Robert Herrick was vicar of Dean Prior, near Totnes, in Devonshire, from 1629 to 1647, when he was ejected by the Puritans, and became Robert Herrick, Esq. (under which title he published his “Hesperides” in 1648), till the Restoration, after which he returned to his living, holding it till his death, twelve years later. [back]