A Lenten Hymn
by Thomas Campion
With broken heart and contrite sigh,
A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry:
Thy pard’ning grace is rich and free:
O God, be merciful to me.
I smite upon my troubled breast,
With deep and conscious guilt oppress,
Christ and His cross my only plea:
O God, be merciful to me.
Far off I stand with tearful eyes,
Nor dare uplift them to the skies;
But Thou dost all my anguish see:
O God, be merciful to me.
Nor alms, nor deeds that I have done,
Can for a single sin atone;
To Calvary alone I flee:
O God, be merciful to me.
And when, redeemed from sin and hell,
With all the ransomed throng I dwell,
My raptured song shall ever be,
God has been merciful to me.

*I have to admit, I'm quite taken with this "new" form. By new, I mean it's new to me. It apparently originated in French troubadour poetry. Isn't "kyrielle" a pleasing term, as if it could be a name and not merely a literary form? It does look and sound a little like my first name, "Coryell(e)." But what most endears the kyrielle to me is that it, as a name and a form, originates in the liturgical prayer entreating the Lord's mercy, the kyrie eleison. For "it is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not" (Lam. 3:22).

Image: Window, Haworth Parish Church, North Yorkshire


gail said…
Thanks for this post today, Rebecca. It's refrain will stay with me through the day, 'O God, be merciful to me.' I am thankful for His Work on Calvary. Blessings to you today.
Caleb Caldwell said…
The kyrie eleison is a part of Roman Catholic mass, isn't it? I was just listening to a composer's rendition of the kyrie eleison, but I'm not sure who it was. More and more, though, I am discovering that liturgical music is some of the most beautiful music ever written.

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