Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

A Prayer: Matins

 Next Poem          

Lord, Thou hast promised. Lo! I give Thee back
Thine own great Word. Keep it. I summon Thee.
Keep it as God can, not as men do. See,
Great God! who art to us the awful Truth
Whereby we live, and move, and know the true--
I ask Thee to be true unto Thyself.


There is a soul that has not sinned unto
The death. I pray for it. To such as seek
For such a one, O Power invisible!
O Mystery and Mercy! Thou hast said
Thou hearkenest. I dare remind Thee, God.
I dare appeal unto Thine honor. Hear!
Fulfill Thy pledge to me.
God, God! Great God!
I pour my soul out, dash it down awaste
Like water, as I would my life, to save
This other one. I light my words with fire,
Like fagots scorching all my shrinking heart.
So would I walk in fire with these my feet
Of flesh, if that could melt this frozen heart
I pray for.
Thou who listenest! Dumb God!
Had I Thy dreadful power to turn the souls
Of men as they were rivers in Thy hand,
Then would I have this noble one. I would
Not lose its loyalty. I tell Thee, Lord,
If I had made it, then it sure should love
And honor me.
Hearken to me! Oh, save!
Give me mine answer! Save!
Great God,
I summon Thee! I summon Thee!

Father,
I am Thy child. If I have asked too much,
Or asked or longed amiss in any wise,
Or read awry Thy Word mysterious,
Or made one cry unworthy of a child,
I pray Thee to deny me all I ask
Unto my asking, and rebuke me so.
And if Thou savest, Lord, dear Lord, dear Lord!
Then let it be because some worthier
Than I, did pray. ...

Next Poem 

 Back to Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward