By precepts taught of ages past,Now let us keep again the fast,Which, year by year, in order meetOf forty days is made complete.
The law and seers that were of oldIn divers ways this Lent foretold,Which Christ Himself, the Lord and GuideOf every season, sanctified.
More sparing therefore let us makeThe words we speak, the food we take,Deny ourselves in mirth and sleep,In stricter watch our senses keep.
In prayer together let us fall,And cry for mercy, one and all;And weep before the Judge, and say,O turn from us Thy wrath away.
Thy grace have we offended soreBy sins, O God, which we deplore;Pour down upon us from aboveThe riches of Thy pardoning love.
Remember, Lord, though frail we be,That yet Thine handiwork are we:Nor let the honor of Thy NameBe by another put to shame.
Forgive the ill that we have wrought,Increase the good that we have sought;That we at length, our wanderings o’er,May please Thee now and evermore.
Blest Three in One, and One in Three,Almighty God, we pray to Thee,That Thou wouldst now vouchsafe to blessOur fast with fruits of righteousness.
Good it is to keep the fast,Shadowed forth in ages past,Which our own Almighty LordHallowed by His deed and Word.
Moses, while he fasted, sawGod Who gave by him the law;To Elijah angels came,Steeds of fire and car of flame.
So was Daniel meet to gazeOn the sight of latter daysAnd the Baptist to proclaimBlessings through the Bridegroom’s Name.
Grant us, Lord, like them to beOft in prayer and fast with Thee;Fill us with Thy heavenly might,Be our Joy and true Delight.
Father, hear us through Thy Son,And the Spirit, with Thee One,Whom our thankful hearts adore,Ever and forevermore.
Once more the solemn season callsA holy fast to keep;And now within the temple wallsLet priest and people weep.
But vain all outward sign of grief,And vain the form of prayer,Unless the heart implore relief,And penitence be there.
We smite the breast, we weep in vain,In vain in ashes mourn,Unless with penitential painThe smitten soul be torn.
In sorrow true then let us prayTo our offended God,From us to turn His wrath awayAnd stay the uplifted rod.
O God, our Judge and Father, deignTo spare the bruisèd reed;We pray for time to turn again,For grace to turn indeed.
Blest Three in One to Thee we bow;Vouchsafe us, in Thy love,To gather from these fasts belowImmortal fruit above.