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Poem by William Cowper
A Figurative Description of the Procedure of Divine Love
'Twas my purpose, on a day, To embark, and sail away. As I climbed the vessel's side, Love was sporting in the tide; 'Come,' he said, 'ascend—make haste, Launch into the boundless waste.' Many mariners were there, Having each his separate care; They that rowed us held their eyes Fixed upon the starry skies; Others steered, or turned the sails, To receive the shifting gales. Love, with power divine supplied, Suddenly my courage tried; In a moment it was night, Ship and skies were out of sight; On the briny wave I lay, Floating rushes all my stay. Did I with resentment burn At this unexpected turn? Did I wish myself on shore, Never to forsake it more? No--'My soul,' I cried, 'be still; If I must be lost, I will.' Next he hastened to convey Both my frail supports away; Seized my rushes; bade the waves Yawn into a thousand graves: Down I went, and sunk as lead, Ocean closing o'er my head. Still, however, life was safe; And I saw him turn and laugh: 'Friend,' he cried, 'adieu! lie low, While the wintry storms shall blow; When the spring has calmed the main, You shall rise and float again.' Soon I saw him, with dismay, Spread his plumes, and soar away; Now I mark his rapid flight; Now he leaves my aching sight; He is gone whom I adore, 'Tis in vain to seek him more. How I trembled then and feared, When my love had disappeared! 'Wilt thou leave me thus,' I cried, 'Whelmed beneath the rolling tide?' Vain attempt to reach his ear! Love was gone, and would not hear. Ah! return, and love me still; See me subject to thy will; Frown with wrath, or smile with grace, Only let me see thy face! Evil I have none to fear, All is good, if thou art near. Yet he leaves me--cruel fate! Leaves me in my lost estate-- Have I sinned? Oh, say wherein; Tell me, and forgive my sin! King, and Lord, whom I adore, Shall I see thy face no more? Be not angry; I resign, Henceforth, all my will to thine: I consent that thou depart, Though thine absence breaks my heart; Go then, and for ever too: All is right that thou wilt do. This was just what Love intended; He was now no more offended; Soon as I became a child, Love returned to me and smiled: Never strife shall more betide 'Twixt the bridegroom and his bride.
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