Lord, I confess my sin is great:
          Great is my sin. Oh! gently treat
With thy quick flower, thy momentary bloom ;
                    Whose life still pressing
                    Is one undressing,
          A steady aiming at a tomb.

          Man's age is two hours' work, or three;
          Each day doth round about us see.
Thus are we to delights: but we are all
                    To sorrows old,
                    If life be told
          From what life feeleth, Adam's fall.

          O let thy height of mercy then
          Compassionate short-breathed men,
Cut me not off for my most foul transgression:
                    I do confess
                    My foolishness;
          My God, accept of my confession.

          Sweeten at length this bitter bowl,
          Which thou hast pour'd into my soul;
Thy wormwood turn to health, winds to fair weather;
                    For if thou stay,
                    I and this day,
          As we did rise, we die together.

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

Previous | Contents | Next