Dialogue between two Penitents (Pelham Humfrey)
- Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2014-08-22). Score information: A4, 7 pages, 163 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: The two voices can be any tenor and (mezzo)-soprano as I have chosen here, because the final duet souds best in this arrangement. It takes an experienced keyboard player to fill in the sparsely figured bassline.
Title: Dialogue between two Penitents
Composer: Pelham Humfrey
Description: The piece was composed jointly by Pelham Humfrey and his successor John Blow
Original text and translations
1st P: Hark, how the wakeful, cheerful cock,
the villagers astrologer and clock,
clapping his wings proclaims the day,
and chides thy sleep and night away!
2nd P: I hear, and thank my kind Remembrancer,
he wakes a sin, that slept within,
rouzes a crime that before would not stir.
Flow. flow my tears!
1st P: O, when will you begin!
Saint Peter's bird reproves Saint Peter's sin!
Complaining Man, hast thou thy Christ denied.
2nd P: Woe's me! Woe's me! I have more than Saint Peter did,
with less excuse, and many ways beside,
ev'n since my Christ was glorified,
and this, alas, too oft, more, more than thrice,
as often as I chose and woo'd a vice
or brutish lust, to be abhorr'd,
rejecting Jesu, my dear Lord.
1st P: O my sad heart, if that be to deny,
none ought to weep more floods than I;
when to receive into my heart a sin,
I thrust my Je-su out, and took it in;
but Lord, how oft he knock'd and be'ng denied,
how dolefully he cried,
Why, why dost thou use me thus, who for thee died!
2nd P: Methinks I hear him call too from the tree,
ungrateful wretch! Was these wouds made for thee!
These wounds made for thee, who both deniedst me,
and betraidst me too;
for ev'ry wanton kiss a very Judas is,
and each malicious thought a spiteful Jew.
1st P: If sins do now, what the fierce Jews did then,
wound him afresh, and crucify again;
then we, alas! have his tormentors been,
and by each vile delib'rate deed
we make our Master again bleed,
his pain as various as our sin.
2nd P: True, for my doubts do bind his hands,
my pride does first disrobe him, then deride;
I spit upon him by my blasphemy,
and scourge him by my cruelty.
My prophane tears become the thorns,
that pierce his head with scorn,
and my hypocrisy.
1st P: Stay! Unto what prodigious height do our sins mount!
Ev'ry unkindness is a dart,
the spear that wounds his very heart,
Christ could bear anything, but this.
Duet: Since then the cause of both our griefs the same,
mix we our tears, for grief let's die,
but first our dirge let's sing, or cry:
O miserere, Jesu mi, Jesu mi, Jesu indulgentissime;
O miserere, Jesu mi, Jesu indulgentissime; O miserere Jesu, Jesu mi.