A Litany in Time of Plague

It is astonishing how aptly these lines of Thomas Nashe, composed over 400 years ago, speak to the condition of humanity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adieu, farewell, earth's bliss;
This world uncertain is;
Fond are life's lustful joys;
Death proves them all but toys;
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Thomas Nashe, A Litany in Time of Plague (1592)

Suddenly, we all find ourselves imploring this invisible enemy to “have mercy on us.”


  • For SATB a capella chorus
  • Category: Choral
  • Year Composed: 2020
  • Duration: 5'
  • Text Writer: Thomas Nashe (1592)
  • Language: English
  • Tags: Literature, Mortality, Poetry, Spirituality
  • View Score ›


  • 10 MAY 2022
  • A Litany in Time of Plague - Premiere
  • UCLA
  • Los Angeles, CA