October 16th, 2011
“Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and ne’er continueth in one stay.
In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears unto our pray’rs; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty.
O holy and most merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall away from thee.”
– from the Book of Common Prayer (as revised by composer Henry Purcell)
Here is Purcell’s musical setting of “Funeral Sentences” (Note: videos appear shrunken on purpose; just use to play sound, the visuals are unnecessary):
1. First, the Funeral March:
2. Second, the sung text:
A terrific bio and collection of info about Purcell lives over at classical label Naxos’ site, right here.