When first Thou didst entice to Thee my heart,
I thought the service brave
So many joys I writ down for my part,
Besides what I might have
Out of my stock of natural delights,
Augmented with Thy gracious benefits.
What pleasures could I want, whose King I served,
Where joys my fellows were?
Thus argued into hopes, my thoughts reserved
No place for grief or fear;
Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place,
And made her youth and fierceness seek Thy face.
At first Thou gav'st me milk and sweetnesses;
I had my wish and way;
My days were strew'd with flowers and happiness;
There was no month but May.
But with my years sorrow did twist and grow,
And made a party unawares for woe.
My flesh began unto my soul in pain,
Sicknesses cleave my bones,
Consuming agues dwell in every vein,
And tune my breath to groans:
Sorrow was all my soul; I scarce believed,
Till grief did tell me roundly, that I lived.
When I got health, Thou took'st away my life
And more--for my friends die:
My mirth and edge was lost, a blunted knife
Was of more use than I:
Thus, thin and lean, without a fence or friend,
I was blown through with every storm and wind.
Yet, lest perchance I should too happy be
In my unhappiness,
Turning my purge to food, Thou throwest me
Into more sicknesses.
Thus doth Thy power cross-bias me, not making
Thine own gift good, yet me from my ways taking.
Now I am here, what Thou wilt do with me
None of my books will show;
I read, and sigh, and wish I were a tree--
For sure, then, I should grow
To fruit or shade; at least, some bird would trust
Her household to me, and I should be just.
Yet, though Thou troublest me, I must be meek;
In weakness must be stout.
Well, I will change the service, and go seek
Some other master out,
Ah, my dear GOD, though I am clean forgot,
Let me not love Thee, if I love Thee not.