Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Robert Herrick. 1591–1674
275. Litany to the Holy Spirit
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 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 pray'd, 
And I nod to what is said, 
'Cause my speech is now decay'd, 
      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
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