Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PRAYER OF RUSBROCHIUS, by JOHN BYROM



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THE PRAYER OF RUSBROCHIUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O merciful lord! By the good which thou art
Last Line: Be thou the sole cause, the one reason of all!
Subject(s): Churches; God; Mercy; Prayer; Ruysbroeck, Jan Van (1293-1381); Cathedrals; Rusbrochius, Ioannis; Ruusbroec, Jan Van


O MERCIFUL Lord! by the good which Thou art,
I beseech thee to raise a true love in my heart
For thee, above all things—thee only; and then
To extend to all sorts, and conditions of men
Religious or secular; kindred, or not;
Or near, or far off, or whatever their lot;
That be any man's state rich or poor, high or low,
As myself I may love him, Friend to me or foe.

May pay to all men a becoming respect,
Not prone to condemn them for seeming defect;
But to bear it, if true, with a patience exempt
From the proud, surly vice of a scornful contempt:
If shewn to myself, let me learn to endure,
And obtain, by its aid, my own vanity's cure:
Nor, however disdain'd, in the spitefullest shape,
By a sinful return ever think to escape.

Let my pure, simple aim, in whatever it be,
Thro' praise or dispraise, be my duty to Thee:
With a fixt resolution, still eyeing that scope
To admit of no other,—fear be it or hope,—
But the fear to offend thee, the hope to unite,
In thy honour and praise, with all hearts that are right,
Wishing all the world well; but intent to fulfil,
Be they pleas'd or displeas'd, thy adorable will.

Preserve me, Dear Lord, from presumption and pride,
That upon my own actions would tempt to confide:
Let me have no dependence on any but thine,
With a right faith and trust in thy merits divine:
Still ready prepar'd, in each requisite hour,
Both to will and to work as thou givest the pow'r;
But may only thy love flame tho' all my whole heart,
And a false selfish fire not affect the least part.

To this end, let thine arrow pierce deeply within,
Letting out all the filth and corruption of sin;
All that in the most secret recesses may lurk,
To prevent or obstruct thy intention or work:
O! give me the knowledge, the feeling, and sense,
Of thy all-blessing pow'r, wisdom, goodness immense!
Of the weakness, the folly, the malice alone,
That, resisting thy will, I should find in my own!

Never let me forget, never, while I draw breath,
What Thou hast done for me, thy passion, and death!
The wounds and the griefs of thy body and soul,
When assuming our nature thou madest it whole;
Taughtest how to engage in thy conquering strife,
And regain the access to its true divine life:
Let the sense of such love kindle all my desire,
To be thine my life thro'; thine to die and expire.

To hearts, in the bond of thy charity knit,
Ev'ry thing becomes easy to do or omit;
The labour is pleasant, the sharpest degree
Of suff'ring can find consolation in thee:
That which nature affords, or an object terrene,
When it does not divert from a perfecter scene,
Is receiv'd with all thanks, if thou pleasest to grant,
By a mind, if thou pleasest, as willing to want.

The amusements, on which it once set such a store,
Are now as insipid, as grateful before;
With a much greater comfort it gives up each toy,
Than the fondest possessor could ever enjoy:
If e'er I propos'd such unsuitable ends
To the thought of religious or secular friends,
Expel the vain images, fancies of good,
And in their heart and mine, make thyself understood.

Extinguish, O Lord, let not any one take,
A complacence in me, which is not for thy sake;
In me too root out the respect, of all kind,
Which does not arise from thy love in my mind:
No sorrow be spar'd, no affliction, no cross,
That may further this love, or recover its loss;
This is always thy meaning;—O let it be mine
To confess myself guilty, repent, and resign.

With a real contempt of all self-seeking views,
To embrace, for my choice, what thy wisdom shall choose;
Looking up still to Thee, to receive all event
Which it wills, or permits, with a thankful content:
Not regarding what men shall do to me, or why,
But the provident aim of thine all-seeing eye;
Ever watchful o'er them who persist, in each place,
To rely on its presence—O give me thy grace!

Tho' unworthy to ask it, poor sinner! I trust
In the merits and death of a Saviour so just;
Whom the Father, well pleas'd in his satisfied will,
The design to save sinners saw rightly fulfil:
In me let thy grace, O Redeemer within,
Re-establish his justice, and purge away sin;
That freed from its evils, in me may be shewn
The effect of thy all-saving merits alone.

May death, and its consequence, still in my eyes,
So remind me live, that it may not surprise:
May the horrible torments excite a due dread,
Which impenitent sinners bring on their own head:
May I never seek peace, never find a delight,
But when I pursue what is good in thy sight:
Whatsoever I do, suffer, feel to befall,
Be Thou the sole cause, the one reason of all!





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