How long, great God?, Z 189 (Henry Purcell)

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Editor: Raymond Nagem (submitted 2019-10-07).   Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 101 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Original key, with original basso continuo part only (no editorial realization).
Editor: Raymond Nagem (submitted 2019-10-07).   Score information: Letter, 5 pages, 120 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Original key. Contains an editorial realization of the continuo part.

General Information

Title: How long, great God?, Z 189
Composer: Henry Purcell
Lyricist: John Norriscreate page

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Solo high Genre: SacredSacred song

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1688

Description: Titled "The Aspiration."

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

How long, great God, must I,
Immur'd in this dark Prison lie?
Where at the Grates, and Avenues of Sense,
My Soul must watch to have intelligence;
Where but faint Gleams of thee salute my Sight,
Like doubtful Moonshine in a cloudy Night.
When shall I leave this Magick Sphere,
And be all Mind, all Eye, all Ear?
How cold this Clime! and yet my Sense
Perceives ev'n here thy Influence;
Ev'n here thy strong Magnetick Charms I feel,
And pant, and tremble, like the amorous Steel:
To lower good, and Beauties not Divine,
sometimes my erroneous Needle does decline;
But yet so strong the Sympathy,
It turns, and points again to thee.
I long to see this Excellence,
Which at such distance strikes my Sense:
My'mpatient Soul struggles to disengage
Her wings, from the confinement of her Cage.
Wouldst thou, great Love, this Pris'ner once set free,
How would she hasten to be link'd to thee?
She'd for no Angels Conduct stay,
but fly, and love on all the way.