Psalm 51 is one of the most memorable and powerful of the so-called penitential Psalms. Many composers have set it to music, often in Latin, using the first three words of the text, “Miserere mei, Deus,” as a title. One of the best-known settings is by Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), which has been recorded by many choirs, including the Choir of New College Oxford.
During Lent, we often use this text as a Sequence Hymn. We will be chanting it to the tune found in #700 in our hymnal. In order to help the congregation learn the music, the choir has recorded it in unison and in four parts. You may use the text below to sing along with the recordings linked below. You may also download the text and music to print (and carry with you) here.
1 Have mercy upon me, O God | after thy • great | goodness :
according to the multitude of thy | mercies • do a |way • mine of|fences.
2 Wash me | throughly • from my | wickedness :
and | cleanse me | from my | sin.
3 For I ac|knowledge • my | faults :
and my | sin is | ever • be|fore me.
4 Against thee only have I sinned * and done this | evil • in thy | sight :
that thou mightest be justified in thy saying *
and | clear when | thou shalt | judge.
5 Behold, I was | shapen • in | wickedness :
and in | sin • hath my | mother • con|ceived me.
6 But lo, thou requirest truth in the | inward | parts :
and shalt make me to | under • stand | wisdom | secretly.
7 Thou shalt purge me with hyssop and | I shall • be | clean :
thou shalt wash me and | I shall • be | whiter • than | snow.
8 Thou shalt make me hear of | joy and | gladness :
that the | bones which • thou hast | broken • may re|joice.
9 Turn thy | face • from my | sins :
and | put out | all • my mis|deeds.
10 Make me a clean | heart O | God :
and re|new a • right | spirit • with|in me.
11 Cast me not a|way • from thy | presence :
and | take not • thy | holy • Spirit | from me.
12 O give me the comfort of thy | help a|gain :
and | stablish me • with thy | free | Spirit.
13 Then shall I teach thy | ways • unto the | wicked :
and | sinners shall • be con|verted | unto thee.
Glory be to the Father and | to the | Son :
and | to the | Holy | Ghost;
As it was in the beginning * is | now and • ever | shall be :
world without | end | A|men.