St Augustine’s Hymn

There are a limited number of hymns suitable for Lent. The other day I posted a metrical version of Psalm 51. Some months back I reposted an earlier hymn, based on the temptation narratives, with a link to Kathryn Rose’s fine new tune written especially for it.

Here’s another (appropriate to, but not just for Lent) which I once published on another blog. It’s based on a famous prayer section from St Augustine’s Confessions (X.xxvii). The  tune I had in mind when writing was Gerontius.

Late have I loved you, O my Lord,
before whom beauty pales,
whose glory shines in Christ the Word,
whose splendour never fails.

I searched for you in all you made,
in all my eye discerned.
I failed to look within, afraid
to know what passion burned.

You walked with me unseen, unloved,
I trod as one alone,
I seized your gifts, though my use proved
the Giver was unknown.

Yet still you called, to me you spoke
your powerful words of love,
and my long-practiced deafness broke
by thunder from above.

Your flashing lightning cleared my sight,
your storm winds conquered me,
and now I see love shining bright,
I breathe air pure and free.

Your love, your life, is now my meat,
I hunger still for more;
your breath of life is true and sweet,
your touch of peace is sure.

Late though I loved you, O my Lord,
beauty both new and old,
now my heart welcomes Christ the Word,
my priceless pearl, my gold.

Creative Commons License(This hymn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence, so you can use it freely in your liturgy and worship)

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