Poet William Cowper

English poet (B:1731-11-26 - D:1800-04-25)

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The Necessity Of Self'abasement

Source of love, my brighter sun,
Thou alone my comfort art;
See, my race is almost run;
Hast thou left this trembling heart?

In my youth thy charming eyes
Drew me from the ways of men;
Then I drank unmingled joys;
Frown of thine saw never then.

Spouse of Christ was then my name;
And, devoted all to thee,
Strangely jealous I became,
Jealous of this self in me.

Thee to love, and none beside,
Was my darling, sole employ;
While alternately I died,
Now of grief, and now of joy.

Through the dark and silent night
On thy radiant smiles I dwelt;
And to see the dawning light
Was the keenest pain I felt.

Thou my gracious teacher wert;
And thine eye, so close applied,
While it watched thy pupil's heart,
Seemed to look at none beside.

Conscious of no evil drift,
This, I cried, is love indeed'
'Tis the giver, not the gift,
Whence the joys I feel proceed.

But, soon humbled and laid low,
Stript of all thou hast conferred,
Nothing left but sin and woe,
I perceived how I had erred.

Oh, the vain conceit of man,
Dreaming of a good his own,
Arrogating all he can,
Though the Lord is good alone!

He the graces thou hast wrought
Makes subservient to his pride;
Ignorant that one such thought
Passes all his sin beside.

Such his folly'proved, at last
By the loss of that repose,
Self'complacence cannot taste,
Only love divine bestows.

'Tis by this reproof severe,
And by this reproof alone,
His defects at last appear,
Man is to himself made known.

Learn, all earth! that feeble man,
Sprung from this terrestrial clod,
Nothing is, and nothing can;
Life and power are all in God.

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