A Prayer for the Evening (Thomas Dekker)

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Thus, O God, am I nearer to old age
   than I was in the morning,
   but, I fear, not nearer to goodness.
   For he who strives to do best comes short of his duty.
   The night new steals upon me like a theif.
   Oh, defend me from the horrors of it.
When I am to lie down in my bed, let me imagine
   I am to lie in my winding sheet,
   and let me not close my eyes until
   my soul and I have reckoned and made me even
   for all the offenses that not only this day,
   but all the former minutes of my life,
   I have committed against your Divine Majesty.
Pardon them, O Lord; forgive me my sins,
   which are more infinite than the stars
   and more heavy than if mountains
   were to lie upon my bosom;
   but your mercy and the merits
   of my Redeemer do I trust in.
   In his name do I sue for pardon.
O Lord, let no unclean thoughts this night
   pollute my body and soul,
   but keep my cogitations chaste,
   and let my dreams be like those
   of innocents and sucking babes.
Grant, O Lord, that the sun may not go down upon my wrath.
   But if anyone this day has done me wrong,
   that I may freely and heartily forgive them,
   just as I desire to be forgiven by your hands.
Whether I sleep or wake, give your angels charge over me,
   that at whatever hour you may call me, I may,
   like a faithful soldier, be found ready to encounter Death
   and to follow the Lamb wherever he goes. Amen.

by Thomas Dekker, in Four Birds of Noah’s Ark, ed. Robert Hudson

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