by George Herbert (1593 - 1633)

When my devotions could not pierce
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
   When my devotions could not pierce
                                Thy silent eares;
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse;
           My breast was full of fears
                                And disorder: 
   My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow,
                                Did flie asunder:
Each took his way; some would to pleasures go,
           Some to the warres and thunder
                                Of alarms. 
   As good go any where, they say,
                                As to benumme
Both knees and heart, in crying night and day,
           Come, come, my God, O come,
                                But no hearing. 
   O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue
                                To crie to thee,
                                But no hearing.
And then not heare it crying! all day long
           My heart was in my knee,
                                But no hearing. 
   Therefore my soul lay out of sight,
                                Untun'd, unstrung:
My feeble spirit, unable to look right,
          Like a nipt blossome, hung
   O cheer and tune my heartlesse breast,
                                Deferre no time;
That so thy favours granting my request,
           They and my minde may chime,
                                And mend my ryme.

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Reniement", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Jacques L'oiseleur des Longchamps

This text was added to the website: 2009-03-21
Line count: 31
Word count: 164