THE REPRISAL

        I have considered it, and find
There is no dealing with thy mighty passion:
For though I die for thee, I am behind;
        My sins deserve the condemnation.

        O make me innocent, that I
May give a disentangled state and free;
And yet thy wounds still my attempts defy,
        For by thy death I die for thee.

        Ah! was it not enough that thou
By thy eternal glory didst outgo me?
Could'st thou not grief's sad conquests me allow,
        But in all victories overthrow me?

        Yet by confession will I come
Into the conquest. Though I can do nought
Against thee, in thee I will overcome
        The man, who once against thee fought.


by George Herbert 1593-1633
source: The Poetical Works Of George Herbert, ed. George Gilfillan. Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1853

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