Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ken's Evening Hymn

Thomas Ken was one of those devout Anglican divines (a Nonjuror, in fact, who resigned his bishopric at the usurpation) who, dying outside the fold, may be thought to have gone to the Limbus Anglicanorum.  I rather like his pious style; as I've been using it in my prayers again, here is his Evening Hymn, somewhat modified by deleting three stanzas about sleep (rather odd in their philosophy) and inserting several more from his otherwise unused Midnight Hymn:

Glory to thee, my God, this night
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath thy own almighty wings.

Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done,
That with the world, myself, and thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed;
Teach me to die, that so I may
Rise glorious at the awful day.

O may my soul on thee repose,
And with sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
Sleep that may me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake. 

When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No powers of darkness me molest. 

Lord! lest the tempter me surprise,
Watch over thine own sacrifice;
All loose, all idle, thoughts cast out,
And make my very dreams devout.

My soul! – how canst thou weary grow
Of antedating bliss, below,
In sacred hymns and heavenly love,
Which will eternal be above?

O when shall I, in endless day,
For ever chase dark sleep away,
And hymns with the supernal choir
Incessant sing, and never tire?

Blest Angels! while we silent lie,
Your Hallelujahs sing on high;
You, ever wakeful near the Throne,
Prostrate adore the Three in One.

I with your choir celestial join,
In offering up a hymn divine:
With you in heaven I hope to dwell,
And bid the night and world farewell. 

You, my blest guardian, whilst I sleep
Close to my bed your vigils keep;
Divine love into me instil,
Stop all the avenues of ill.

Thought to thought with my soul converse,
Celestial joys to me rehearse,
Or in my stead, all the night long,
Sing to my God a grateful song.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him, all creatures here below,
Praise him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  

A good meditation, in thirteen stanzas (two pairs of six, plus the doxology).  This may be sung to Tallis' Canon.

No comments: