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What shall I do? Make vows, and break them still?

'Twill be but labour lost? My good cannot prevail against mine ill :

The business will be crost.

0, say not so: thou canst not tell what strength

Thy God may give thee at the length : Renew thy vows, and if thou keep the last,

Thy God will pardon all that's past. Vow, whilst thou canst; while thou canst vow, thou may'st Perhaps perform it, when thou thinkest least.

Thy God hath not denied thee all,
Whilst he permits thee but to call :
Call to thy God for grace to keep

Thy vows; and if thou break them, weep.
Weep for thy broken vows, and vow again :
Vows made with tears cannot be still in vain.

Then once again
I vow to mend my ways;

Lord, say Amen,
And thine be all the praise.


O how my mind

Is gravell’d!

Not a thought, That I can find,

But's ravellid

All to nought. Short ends of threads,

And narrow shreds

Of lists, Knot snarled ruffs,

Loose broken tufts

Of twists, Are my torn meditation’s ragged clothing, Which, wound and woven shape a suit for nothing : One while I think, and then I am in pain To think how to unthink that thought again.

How can my soul

But famish

With this food? Pleasure's full bowl

Tastes ramish,2

Taints the blood. Profit picks bones,

And chews on stones

That choke : Honour climbs hills,

Fats not, but fills

With smoke.
And whilst my thoughts are greedy upon these,
They pass by pearls, and stoop to pick up pease.
Such wash and draff is fit for none but swine :
And such I am not, Lord, if I am thine.

Clothe me anew, and feed me then afresh;
Else my soul dies famish’d, and starved with flesh.


1 Lists," snarled ruffs,' &c. : old pieces of dress.—2 «Ramish :' what is called in Scotland • wersh,' i. C., tasteless.



WELCOME mine health : this sickness makes me well.

Medicines adieu : When with diseases I have list to dwell,

I'll wish for


Welcome my strength : this weakness makes me able.

Powers adieu :
When I am weary grown of standing stable,

I'll wish for you.

Welcome my wealth : this loss hath gain'd me more.

Riches adieu :
When I again grow greedy to be poor, ,

I'll wish for you.


Welcome my credit : this disgrace is glory.

Honours adieu :
When for renown and fame I shall be sorry,

I'll wish for you.

Welcome content: this sorrow is my joy.

Pleasures adieu :
When I desire such griefs as may annoy,

I'll wish for you.

Health, strength, and riches, credit, and content,
Are spared best, sometimes, when they are spent :
Sickness and weakness, loss, disgrace, and sorrow,
Lend most sometimes, when they seem most to borrow.
Blest be that hand, that helps by hurting, gives
By taking, by forsaking me relieves.
If in my fall my rising be thy will,
Lord, I will say, The worse the better still.
I'll speak the Paradox, maintain thou it,
And let thy grace supply my want of wit.

Leave me no learning that a man may see,
So I may be a scholar unto thee.


A HOUSE I had (a heart, I mean), so wide,

And full of spacious rooms on every side,

That viewing it I thought I might do well,
Rather than keep it void, and make no gain,
Of what I could not use, to entertain

Such guests as came : I did; But what befell
Me quickly in that course, I sigh to tell.

A guest I had (alas ! I have her still),
A great big bellied guest, enough to fill

The vast content of hell, Corruption.
By entertaining her, I lost my right
To more than all the world hath now in sight.

Each day, each hour, almost, she brought forth one,
Or other base begot Transgression.

The charge grew great. I, that had lost before
All that I had, was forced now to score

For all the charges of their maintenance
In dooms-day book : Whoever knew't would say
The least sum there was more than I could pay,

When first 'twas due, besides continuance,
Which could not choose but much the debt enhance.

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To ease me first I wish'd her to remove :
But she would not. I sued her then above,

And begg'd the Court of heaven but in vain
To cast her out. No, I could not evade
The bargain, which she pleaded I had made,

That, whilst both lived, I should entertain,
At mine own charge, both her and all her train.

No help then, but or I must die or she;
And yet my death of no avail would be:

For one death I had died already then,
When first she lived in me: and now to die
Another death again were but to tie,

And twist them both into a third, which when It once hath seized on, never looseth men.

Her death might be my life ; but her to kill
I, of myself, had neither power nor will.
So desperate was my case.

Whilst I delay'd, My guest still teem'd, my debts still greater grew; The less I had to pay, the more was due.

The more I knew, the more I was afraid :
The more I mused, the more I was dismay’d.

At last I learn'd, there was no way but one :
A friend must do it for me. He alone,

That is the Lord of life, by dying can
Save men from death, and kill Corruption :
And many years ago the deed was done,

His heart was pierced ; out of his side there ran Sins' corrosives, restoratives for man.

This precious balm I begg’d, for pity's sake,
At Mercy's gate : where Faith alone may take

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