Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639)

A Hymn to God in a Night of My Late Sickness

O thou great power, in whom I move,
For whom I live, to whom I die,
Behold me through thy beams of love,
Whilst on this couch of tears I lie;
And cleanse my sordid soul within,
By thy Christ’s blood, the bath of sin.

No hallowed oils, no grains I need,
No rags of saints, no purging fire,
One rosy drop from David’s seed
Was worlds of seas to quench thine ire.
O precious ransom, which once paid,
That ‘consummatum est’ was said:

And said by him that said no more,
But sealed it with his sacred breath.
Thou then, that hast dispunged my score,
And dying wast the death of death,
Be to me now, on thee I call,
My life, my strength, my joy, my all.


Eternal mover, whose diffused glory,
To show our groveling reason what Thou art,
Unfolds it self in clouds of natures story,
Where man, thy proudest creature, acts his part:
Whom yet, alas! I know not why, we call
The world’s contracted sum, the little all.

For, what are we but lumps of walking clay?
Why should we swell? Whence should our spirits rise?
Are not brute beasts as strong, and birds as gay,
Trees longer lived, and creeping things as wise?
Only our souls were left an inward light,
To feel our weakness, and confess thy might.

Thou then, our strength, Father of life and death,
To whom our thanks, our vows, our selves we owe,
From me, Thy tenant of this fading breath,
Accept those lines which from Thy goodness flow:
And Thou, that wert Thy regal prophet’s muse,
Do not Thy praise in weaker strains refuse.

Let these poor notes ascend unto thy throne,
Where majesty doth sit with mercy crowned,
Where my redeemer lives, in whom alone
The errors of my wandring life are drowned:
Where all the choir of heaven resound the same,
That only Thine, Thine is the saving name.

Well then, my soul, joy in the midst of pain;
Thy Christ that conquer’d hell, shall from above
With greater triumph yet return again,
And conquer his own justice with his love;
Commanding earth and seas to render those
Unto his bliss, for whom he paid his woes.

Now have I done: now are my thoughts at peace,
And now my joys are stronger than my grief:
I feel those comforts that shall never cease,
Future in hope, but present in belief.
Thy words are true, Thy promises are just,
And Thou wilt find Thy dearly bought in Dust.