Monday, February 11, 2008

Lenten Hymn

Forty days and forty nights
Thou wast fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted and yet undefiled.

Shall not we thy sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with thee to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Flesh or spirit to assail,
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fail!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as ministered to thee.

Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,
Ever constant by thy side;
That with thee we may appear
At th'eternal Eastertide.

George Hunt Smyttan and Francis Pott; alt.
From NĂ¼rn­berg­isch­es Ge­sang­buch, 1676

This time the "alt." isn't mine; the text comes intact out of the Hymnal 1940. Others got to the text before me. There's another verse describing the forty-day wilderness ordeal not generally used in American hymnals that follows the first above:

Sunbeams scorching all the day;
Chilly dew-drops nightly shed;
Prowling beasts about thy way;
Stones thy pillow, earth thy bed.

That one almost seems to come out of one of the children's hymns of Cecil Frances Alexander.

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