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Entries in Poetry (48)


Good Friday

Am I a stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the sun and moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon --
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock. 

Christina Rosetti (1830-1894)


The Resignation

O God, whose thunder shakes the sky,
Whose eye this atom globe surveyd,
To thee, my only rock, I fly,
Thy mercy in thy justice praise.

The mystic mazes of thy will,
The shadows of celestial light,
Are past the power of human skill,
But what the Eternal acts is right.

O teach me in the trying hour,
When anguish swells the dewy tear,
To still my sorrows, own thy power,
Thy goodness love, thy justice fear.

If in this bosom aught but Thee
Encroaching sought a boundless sway,
Omniscience could the danger see,
And Mercy look the cause away.

Then why, my soul, dost thou complain?
Why drooping seek the dark recess?
Shake off the melancholy chain,
For God created all to bless.

But ah! My breast is human still;
The rising sigh, the falling tear,
My languid vitals' feeble rill,
The sickness of my soul declare.

But yet, with fortitude resigned,
I'll thank the inflictor of the blow;
Forbid the sigh, compose my mind,
Nor let the gush of misery flow.

The glomy mantle of the night,
Which on my sinking spirit steald,
Will vanish at the morning light,
Which God, my East, my sun reveals.

~Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770) 



Make me, O Lord, Thy spinning-wheel complete.
Thy holy word my distaff make for me.
Make mine affections Thy swift flyers neat,
And make my soul Thy holy spool to be.
My conversation make to be Thy reel,
And reel thy yarn thereupon spun of Thy wheel.

Make me Thy loom then, knit therein this twine,
And make Thy Holy Spirit, Lord, wind quills:
Then weave the web Thyself. Thy yarn is fine.
Thine ordinances make my fulling-mills.
Then dye the same in heavenly colors of choice,
All pinked with varnished flowers of paradise.

Then clothe therewith mine understanding, will,
Affections, judgment, conscience, memory,
My words and actions, that their shine may fill
My ways with glory and Thee glorify.
Then mine apparel shall display before Ye
That I am clothed in holy robes for glory.

~ Edward Taylor (1642-1729)

* Huswifery means housekeeping.


When Rising From the Bed of Death

When, rising from the bed of death,
O'erwhelmed with guilt and fear,
I see my Maker face to face,
O how shall I appear?

If yet, while pardon may be found,
And mercy may be sought,
My heart with inward horror shrinks,
And trembles at the thought.

When thou, O Lord, shalt stand disclosed
In majesty severe,
And sit in judgment on my soul,
Oh how shall I appear?

But thou has told the troubled mind
Who does her sins lament,
The timely tribute of her tears
Shall endless woes prevent.

Then see the sorrow of my heart,
Ere yet it be too late,
And hear my Savior's dying groans,
To give these sorrows weight.

For never shall my soul despair
Her pardon to procure,
Who knows thine only Son has died
To make her pardon sure.

~ Joseph Addison (1672-1719)


Come, Creator Spirit

Creator Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations were first laid,
Come, visit every pious mind;
Come, pour thy joys on human kind;
From sin and sorrow set us free,
And make thy temples worthy Thee.

O, source of uncreated Light,
The Father's promised Paraclete!
Thrice Holy Found, thrice Holy fire,
Our hearts with heavenly love inspire;
Come, and thy sacred unction bring
To sanctify us, while we sing!

Plenteous of grace, descend from high,
Rich in thy seven-fold energy!
Thou strength of his almighty hand,
Whose power does heaven and earth command,
Proceeding Spirit, our defense,
Who dost the gift of tongues dispense,
And crowns thy gift with eloquence!

Refine and purge our earthly parts;
But, oh, inflame and fire our hearts!
Our frailties help, our vice control;
Submit the sense to the soul;
And when rebellious they are grown,
Then lay thy hand and hold them down.

Chase from our minds the Internal Foe;
And peace, the fruit of love, bestow;
And, lest our feet should step astray,
Protect and guide us in the way.
Make us eternal truths receive,
And practice all that we believe:
Give us thyself, that we may see
The Fathr and the Son, by thee.

Immortal honor, endless fame,
Ascend the Almighty Father's name:
The Saviour Son be glorified,
Who for lost man's redemption died;
And equal adoration be,
Eternal Paraclete, to thee. 

~ John Dryden (1631-1700)