Francis Quarles

Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me
for thine enemy?

(Job xiii. 24)

WHY dost thou shade thy lovely face?  O why
Doth that eclipsing hand so long deny
The Sun-shine of thy soule-enliv'ning eye?

Without that Light, what light remaines in me?
Thou art my Life, my Way, my Light; in thee
I live, I move, and by thy beams I see.

Thou art my Life; if thou but turn away,
My life 's a thousand deaths: thou art my Way:
Without thee, Lord, I travel not, but stray.

My Light thou art; without thy glorious sight,
Mine eyes are darkned with perpetuall night.
My God, thou art my Way, my Life, my Light.

Thou art my Way; I wander, if thou fly:
Thou art my Light; If hid, how blind am I !
Thou art my Life; If thou withdraw, I die.

Mine eyes are blind and dark; I cannot see;
To whom, or whither should my darkness flee,
But to the Light? And who 's that Light but thee?

My path is lost; my wandring steps do stray;
I cannot safely go, nor safely stay;
Whom should I seek but thee, my Path, my Way?

O, I am dead: To whom shall I, poor I,
Repair? to whom shall my sad ashes fly
But Life? And where is Life but in thine eye?

And yet thou turn'st away thy face, and fly'st me;
And yet I sue for grace, and thou deny'st me;
Speak, art thou angry, Lord, or onely try'st me?

Unscreen those Heav'nly lamps, or tell me why
Thou shad'st thy face; perhaps thou think'st, no eye
Can view those flames, and not drop down and die.

If that be all, shine forth, and draw thee nigher;
Let me behold and die, for my desire
Is Phoenix-like to perish in that fire.

Death-conquer'd Laz'rus was redeem'd by thee;
If I am dead, Lord, set death's prisoner free;
Am I more spent, or stink I worse than he?

If my puff'd light be out, give leave to tine
My flamelesse snuff at that bright Lamp of thine;
O what 's thy Light the lesse for lighting mine?

If I have lost my Path, great Shepherd, say,
Shall I still wander in a doubtfull way?
Lord, shall a Lamb of Israel's sheepfold stray?

Thou art the Pilgrim's Path; the blind man's Eye;
The dead man's Life; on thee my hopes rely;
If thou remove, I erre; I grope; I die.

Disclose thy Sun beams; close thy wings, and stay;
See, see how I am blind, and dead, and stray,
O thou, that art my Light, my Life, my Way.

Emblemes, Book 3, vii, 1635     

tine: tind, kindle.

The Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse.
H. J. C. Grierson and G. Bullough, eds.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934. 346-348.


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