Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A PENTITENTIAL HYMN, by HENRY KING (1592-1669)

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A PENTITENTIAL HYMN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hearken, o god, unto a wretch's cries
Last Line: Before I fall into the silent grave.

HEARKEN, O God, unto a wretch's cries,
Who low dejected at thy footstool lies.
Let not the calmour of my heinous sin
Drown my requests, which strive to enter in
At those bright gates, which always open stand
To such as beg remission at thy hand.

Too well I know, if thou in rigour deal,
I can nor pardon ask, nor yet appeal:
To my hoarse voice, heaven will no audience grant,
But deaf as brass, and hard as adamant
Beat back my words; therefore I bring to thee
A gracious Advocate to plead for me.

What though my leprous soul no Jordan can
Recure, nor floods of the lav'd Ocean
Make clean? yet from my Saviour's bleeding side
Two large and medicinable rivers glide.
Lord, wash me where those streams of life abound,
And new Bethesdas flow from ev'ry wound.

If I this precious lather may obtain,
I shall not then despair for any stain;
I need no Gilead's balm, nor oil, nor shall
I for the purifying hyssop call:
My spots will vanish in His purple flood,
And crimson there turn white, though wash'd with blood.

See, Lord! with broken heart and bended knee,
How I address my humble suit to Thee;
O give that suit admittance to Thy ears,
Which floats to Thee, not in my words, but tears:
And let my sinful soul this mercy crave,
Before I fall into the silent grave.

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