Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
The Litany
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
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,        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 artless doctor sees
No one hope, but of his fees,
And his skill runs on the lees,        15
        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!        20
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,        25
And the comforters are few,
And that number more than true,
        Sweet Spirit, comfort me!
When the priest his last hath pray’d,
And I nod to what is said,        30
’Cause my speech is now decay’d,
        Sweet Spirit, comfort me!
When, God knows, I’m tost about,
Either with despair or doubt;
Yet, before the glass be out,        35
        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!        40
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 reveal’d,        45
And that open’d which was seal’d;
When to Thee I have appeal’d,
        Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

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