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Alexander Pope (1688–1744).  Complete Poetical Works.  1903.
 
Early Poems
A Paraphrase (On Thomas à Kempis)
 
        
L. III. C. 2
  
  Supposed to have been written in 1700; first published from the Caryll Papers in the Athenæum, July 15, 1854.

SPEAK, Gracious Lord, oh, speak; thy servant hears:
  For I ’m thy servant and I ’ll still be so:
Speak words of comfort in my willing ears;
  And since my tongue is in thy praises slow,
And since that thine all Rhetoric exceeds:        5
Speak thou in words, but let me speak in deeds!
 
Nor speak alone, but give me grace to hear
  What thy celestial Sweetness does impart;
Let in not stop when enter’d at the ear,
  But sink, and take deep rooting in my heart.        10
As the parch’d Earth drinks rain (but grace afford)
With such a gust will I receive thy word.
 
Nor with the Israelites shall I desire
  Thy heav’nly word by Moses to receive,
Lest I should die: but Thou who didst inspire        15
  Moses himself, speak Thou, that I may live.
Rather with Samuel I beseech with tears,
Speak, gracious Lord, oh, speak, thy servant hears.
 
Moses, indeed, may say the words, but Thou
  Must give the Spirit, and the Life inspire;        20
Our Love to thee his fervent breath may blow,
  But ’t is thyself alone can give the fire:
Thou without them may’st speak and profit too;
But without thee what could the Prophets do?
 
They preach the Doctrine, but thou mak’st us do ’t;        25
  They teach the myst’ries thou dost open lay;
The trees they water, but thou giv’st the fruit;
  They to Salvation show the arduous way,
But none but you can give us strength to walk;
You give the Practice, they but give the Talk.        30
 
Let them be silent then; and thou alone,
  My God! speak comfort to my ravish’d ears;
Light of my eyes, my Consolation,
  Speak when thou wilt, for still thy servant hears.
Whate’er thou speak’st, let this be understood:        35
Thy greater Glory, and my greater Good!
 
 
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