Scripture Verse

Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee. Psalm 86:5


John Donne

Words: John Donne (1573–1631).

Music: So giebst du Jo­hann S. Bach (🔊 pdf nwc).

Johann S. Bach

I have ra­ther the men­tioned this hymn for that he caused it to be set to a most grave and sol­emn tune, and to be oft­en sung to the or­gan by the Chor­is­ters of St. Paul’s [Ca­thed­ral] Church in his own hear­ing, es­pe­cial­ly at the ev­en­ing service, and at his re­turn from his cus­to­ma­ry de­vo­tions in that place, did oc­ca­sion­al­ly say to a friend, the words of this hymn have re­stored to me the same thoughts of joy that pos­sessed my soul in my sick­ness, when I com­posed it.

And, O the power of Church-music! That har­mo­ny add­ed to this hymn has raised the af­fec­tions of my heart, and quick­ened my grace of zeal and gra­ti­tude; and I ob­serve that I al­ways re­turn from pay­ing this pub­lic du­ty of pray­er and praise with an un­ex­pres­si­ble tran­quil­i­ty of mind, and will­ing­ness to leave the world.

Izaak Wa­lton, Lives, 1670


Wilt Thou forgive that sin, by man begun,
Which was my sin though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I’ve spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine, as He shines now and heretofore:
And, having done that, Thou hast done:
I fear no more.