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When first Thou didst entice to Thee my heart,

I thought the service brave

So many joys I writ down for my part,

Besides what I might have

Out of my stock of natural delights,

Augmented with Thy gracious benefits.

What pleasures could I want, whose King I served,

Where joys my fellows were?

Thus argued into hopes, my thoughts reserved

No place for grief or fear;

Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place,

And made her youth and fierceness seek Thy face.

At first Thou gav'st me milk and sweetnesses;

I had my wish and way;

My days were strew'd with flowers and happiness;

There was no month but May.

But with my years sorrow did twist and grow,

And made a party unawares for woe.


My flesh began unto my soul in pain,

Sicknesses cleave my bones,

Consuming agues dwell in every vein,

And tune my breath to groans:

Sorrow was all my soul; I scarce believed,

Till grief did tell me roundly, that I lived.

When I got health, Thou took'st away my life

And more--for my friends die:

My mirth and edge was lost, a blunted knife

Was of more use than I:

Thus, thin and lean, without a fence or friend,

I was blown through with every storm and wind.

Yet, lest perchance I should too happy be

In my unhappiness,

Turning my purge to food, Thou throwest me

Into more sicknesses.

Thus doth Thy power cross-bias me, not making

Thine own gift good, yet me from my ways taking.

Now I am here, what Thou wilt do with me

None of my books will show;

I read, and sigh, and wish I were a tree--

For sure, then, I should grow

To fruit or shade; at least, some bird would trust

Her household to me, and I should be just.

Yet, though Thou troublest me, I must be meek;

In weakness must be stout.

Well, I will change the service, and go seek

Some other master out,

Ah, my dear GOD, though I am clean forgot,

Let me not love Thee, if I love Thee not.

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