Come Down, O Love Divine

Representative Text

1 Come down, O Love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

2 O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

3 And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till Love create a place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Author: Bianco da Siena

Bianco da Siena (b. Anciolina, circa 1350; d. Venice, Italy, circa 1434), an Italian poet and wool worker who was born at Anciolina, in the Val d'Arno. In 1367 he entered the Order of Jesuates, consisting of unordained men who followed the rule of St. Augustine. This order was instituted in that year by one John Colombinus of Siena, and suppressed by Pope Clement IX, possibly because of fear of not being able to control their mystical fervor. Little is known of Bianco beyond the fact that he is said to have lived in Venice for some years, and died there in 1434. His hymns were published at Lucca, in 1851, and edited by T. Bini, under the title, Laudi spirituali del Bianco da Siena. Emily Brink… Go to person page >

Translator: Richard Frederick Littledale

Richard Frederick Littledale (b. Dublin, 1883; d. London, 1890) entered Trinity College, Dublin, as a foundation scholar, graduated with a bachelors degree in classics, a Masters of Divinity in 1858, then a Bachelors and Doctorate in Civil Law at Oxford in 1862. From 1856 to 1857 he was the curate of St. Matthew in Thorpe Hamlet, Norfolk, and from 1857 to 1861 was the curate of St. Mary the Virgin, in Soho, London. For the remainder of his life he suffered from chronic illness and spent most of his time writing. He authored many books and pamphlets on Anglican liturgy, theology, and the church’s engagement with society, and completed his good friend John Mason Neale’s work on the psalms after Neale died in 1866. Laura de Jong… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Come down, O Love divine
Title: Come Down, O Love Divine
Italian Title: Discendi, Amor santo
Author: Bianco da Siena
Translator: Richard Frederick Littledale
Meter: 6.6.11 D
Language: English
Notes: Spanish translation: See also "Desciende, oh Santo Dios" by Federico Pagura; French translation: "Descends Esprit de Dieu" by Henri Capieu
Copyright: Public Domain
Liturgical Use: Songs of Illumination



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