Once more the solemn season calls
A holy fast to keep;
And now within the temple walls
Let 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 pain
The smitten soul be torn.
In sorrow true then let us pray
To our offended God,
From us to turn His wrath away
And stay the uplifted rod.
O God, our Judge and Father, deign
To 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 below
Immortal fruit above.