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Lent hymns

26 February 2018

Hymns and songs for - and inspired by - the season of Lent:


Forty days and forty nights    George Hunt Smyttan* (1822-1870) and Francis Pott* (1832-1909)

This is a re-writing by Pott of a poem in nine verses by ‘G. H. S.’ (George Hunt Smyttan, a Nottinghamshire vicar) published in a religious magazine, the Penny Post (March 1856)...


From the river to the desert     Sylvia Dunstan* (1955-1993)

‘The Temptation’, as Sylvia Dunstan called this hymn, was written for the first Sunday of Lent, 1989: ‘I prepared this hymn on the temptation story. It is essentially a conversation between Jesus and Satan...


Audi, benigne conditor     Latin, anonymous

It entered the liturgical tradition in the 9th-century New Hymnal , where it is commonly found as the ferial Vespers hymn during Lent. Milfull’s translation of verse 1 makes its explicitly Lenten character clear: ‘Benign creator, hear our prayers accompanied by weeping, poured out during this holy forty-day period of fasting.’


Once more the solemn season calls    Latin, 18th century, translated by John Chandler* (1806-1876)

Its inclusion in a book for Catholic children is surprising, even in the 19th century; and its Lenten severity has not commended it to recent editors of hymnals...


Jesu, who this our Lenten-tide    Walter Howard Frere* (1863-1938)

This is a translation of ‘Jesu quadragenariae’, a hymn for Lent in the monastic Uses from the 10th century onwards...