Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GIVE ME THY HEART, by ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

GIVE ME THY HEART, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: With echoing steps the worshippers / departed one by one
Last Line: The sacred presence there!
Alternate Author Name(s): Berwick, Mary
Subject(s): Faith; Worship; Belief; Creed

WITH echoing steps the worshippers
Departed one by one;
The organ's pealing voice was stilled,
The vesper hymn was done;
The shadow fell from roof and arch,
Dim was the incensed air,
One lamp alone, with trembling ray,
Told of the Presence there!

In the dark church she knelt alone;
Her tears were falling, fast;
"Help, Lord," she cried, "the shades of death
Upon my soul are cast!
Have I not not shunned the path of sin,
And chose the better part?" --
What voice came through the sacred air --
"My child, give me thy heart!"

"Have not I laid before thy shrine
My wealth, O Lord?" she cried;
"Have I kept aught of gems or gold,
To minister to pride?
Have I not bade youth's joys retire,
And vain delights depart?" --
But sad and tender was the voice,--
"My child, give me thy heart!"

"Have I not, Lord, gone day by day
Where thy poor children dwell;
And carried help, and gold, and food?
Lord, thou know'st it well!
From many a house, from many a soul,
My hand bids care depart": --
More sad, more tender was the voice, --
"My child, give me thy heart!"

"Have I not worn my strength away
With fast and penance sore?
Have I not watched and wept?" she cried;
"Did thy dear saints do more?
Have I not gained thy grace, O Lord,
And won in heaven my part?" --
It echoed louder in her soul, --
My child, give me thy heart!

"For I have loved thee with a love
No mortal heart can show;
A love so deep my saints in heaven
Its depths can never know:
When picked and wounded on the cross,
Man's sin and doom were mine,
I loved thee with undying love,
Immortal and divine!

"I loved thee ere the skies were spread;
My soul bears all thy pains;
To gain thy love my sacred heart
In earthly shrines remains:
Vain are thy offerings, vain thy sighs,
Without one gift divine;
Give it, my child, thy heart to me,
And it shall rest in mine!"

In awe she listened, as the shade
Passed from her soul away;
In low and trembling voice she cried, --
"Lord, help me to obey!
Break thou the chains of earth, O Lord,
That bind and hold my heart;
Let it be thine and thine alone,
Let none with thee have part.

"Send down, O Lord, thy sacred fire!
Consume and cleanse the sin
That lingers still within its depths:
Let heavenly love begin.
That sacred flame thy saints have known,
Kindle, O Lord, in me,
Thou above all the rest forever,
And all the rest in thee."

The blessing fell upon her soul;
Her angel by her side
Knew that the hour of peace was come;
Her soul was purified;
The shadows fell from roof and arch,
Dim was the incensed air, --
But peace went with her as she left
The sacred Presence there!

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