Stanzas On the Same Occasion
written in 1781
Why am I loth to leave this earthly scene? Have I so found it full of pleasing charms? Some drops of joy with draughts of ill between- Some gleams of sunshine 'mid renewing storms, Is it departing pangs my soul alarms? Or death's unlovely, dreary, dark abode? For guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms: I tremble to approach an angry God, And justly smart beneath His sin-avenging rod. Fain would I say, "Forgive my foul offence," Fain promise never more to disobey; But, should my Author health again dispense, Again I might desert fair virtue's way; Again in folly's part might go astray; Again exalt the brute and sink the man; Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray Who act so counter heavenly mercy's plan? Who sin so oft have mourn'd, yet to temptation ran? O Thou, great Governor of all below! If I may dare a lifted eye to Thee, Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow, Or still the tumult of the raging sea: With that controlling pow'r assist ev'n me, Those headlong furious passions to confine, For all unfit I feel my pow'rs to be, To rule their torrent in th' allowed line; O, aid me with Thy help, Omnipotence Divine!