Lord, when the sense of Thy sweet grace
Sends up my soul to seek Thy face,
Thy blessed eyes breed such desire,
I die in love's delicious Fire.
O Love, I am thy Sacrifice.
Be still triumphant, blessed eyes.
Still shine on me, fair suns! that I
Still may behold, though still I die.
Though still I die, I live again;
Still longing so to be still slain,
So gainful is such loss of breath.
I die even in desire of death.
Still live in me this loving strife
Of living Death and dying Life.
For while Thou sweetly slayest me,
Dead to myself I live in Thee.
-- Richard Crashaw (1613-1649)
The Higher Good
Father, I will not ask for wealth or fame
Though once they would have joyed my carnal sense:
I shudder not to bear a hated name,
Wanting all wealth, myself my sole defense.
But give me, Lord, eyes to behold the truth;
A seeing sense that knows the eternal right;
A heart with pity filled, and gentlest ruth;
A manly faith that makes all darkness light:
Give me the power to labor for mankind;
Make me the mouth of such as cannot speak;
Eyes let me be to groping men and blind;
A conscience to the base; and to the weak
Let me be hands and feet; and to the foolish, mind,
And lead still further on such as Thy kingdom seek.
-- Theodore Parker (1810-1860)
Not Yours But You
He died for me: what can I offer Him?
Towards Him swells incense of perpetual prayer;
His court wear crowns and aureoles round their hair:
His ministers are subtle Cherubim;
Ring within ring, white intense Seraphim
Leap like immortal lightnings through the air.
What shall I offer Him? Defiled and bare
My spirit broken and my brightness dim?
"Give Me thy youth." "I yield it to Thy rod,
As Thou didst yield Thy prime of youth for me."
"Give Me thy life." "I give it breath by breath;
As Thou didst give Thy life so give I Thee."
"Give Me thy love." "So be it, my God, my God
As Thou hast loved me, even to bitter death."
-- Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)