William Cowper (1731–1800)
The contrite heart.
The Lord will happiness divine
On contrite hearts bestow;
Then tell me, gracious God, is mine
A contrite heart or no?
I hear, but seem to hear in vain,
Insensible as steel;
If aught is felt, 'tis only pain,
To find I cannot feel.
I sometimes think myself inclined
To love Thee if I could;
But often feel another mind,
Averse to all that's good.
My best desires are faint and few,
I fain would strive for more;
But when I cry, "My strength renew!"
Seem weaker than before.
Thy saints are comforted, I know,
And love Thy house of prayer;
I therefore go where others go,
But find no comfort there.
Oh make this heart rejoice or ache;
Decide this doubt for me;
And if it be not broken, break—
And heal it, if it be.
Taken from Jay Hopler and Kimberly Johnson, editors, Before the Door of God; An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 425pp.
Dan Clendenin: firstname.lastname@example.org