The cleansing wine of tears

With Thine unsleeping eye look upon me and take pity on me: for I am held fast by the drowsiness of sloth and lie upon the bed of the passions, a slave to the sleep of sensual pleasure. Thou hast bowed Thine head upon the Cross, O Christ, and of Thine own will Thou hast awaked from sleep; and Thou hast driven away the night of sin, for Thou art the Light of righteousness.

I was adorned at Baptism with Thy rich gifts of grace; but instead I have loved the poverty of evil, and in my misery I have become a stranger to the virtues. I have wandered into a far country of sin: but make me turn back, O Saviour, and embrace me, fencing me round with Thy Cross unto eternity.

Cast aside, my soul, the drunkenness of the passions, and by fasting seek the cleansing wine of tears that makes glad the heart of man, withering lust and putting out the furnace of the flesh. Make haste to be crucified with Christ, who for thy sake was nailed upon the Wood, and to live with Him unto eternity.

Eighth Canticle of Matins, Wednesday in the Fifth Week of the Great Fast. From The Lenten Triodion: Supplementary Texts, Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware.


From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
A hellhound that doth hunt us all to death:
That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood,
That foul defacer of God’s handiwork,
That excellent grand tyrant of the earth
That reigns in gallèd eyes of weeping souls,
Thy womb let loose to chase us to our graves.
O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
How do I thank thee that this charnel cur
Preys on the issue of his mother’s body
And makes her pew fellow with others’ moan.

Wm Shakespeare, Richard III, Act IV, Scene 4, lines 47-58.

The speaker is Queen Margaret to Richard’s mother, the Duchess of York. It is a breathtaking insult, is it not?