Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
140. Exhortation to Prayer
 
By Margaret Mercer
 
 
NOT on a prayerless bed, not on a prayerless bed
  Compose thy weary limbs to rest;
    For they alone are blest
      With balmy sleep
      Whom angels keep;        5
    Nor, though by care opprest,
      Or anxious sorrow,
  Or thought in many a coil perplexed
    For coming morrow,
      Lay not thy head        10
      On prayerless bed.
 
For who can tell, when sleep thine eyes shall close,
  That earthly cares and woes
    To thee may e’er return?
      Arouse, my soul!        15
      Slumber control,
  And let thy lamp burn brightly;
    So shall thine eyes discern
  Things pure and sightly;
    Taught by the Spirit, learn        20
      Never on prayerless bed
      To lay thine unblest head.
 
Hast thou no pining want, or wish, or care,
  That calls for holy prayer?
    Has thy day been so bright        25
      That in its flight
    There is no trace of sorrow?
    And thou art sure to-morrow
        Will be like this, and more
Abundant? Dost thou yet lay up thy store        30
  And still make plans for more?
      Thou fool! this very night
      Thy soul may wing its flight.
 
Hast thou no being than myself more dear,
    That ploughs the ocean deep,        35
    And when storms sweep
      The wintry, lowering sky,
    For whom thou wak’st and weepest?
    Oh, when thy pangs are deepest,
  Seek then the covenant ark of prayer;        40
  For He that slumbereth not is there—
      His ear is open to thy cry.
        Oh, then, on prayerless bed
        Lay not thy thoughtless head.
 
Arouse thee, weary soul, nor yield to slumber,        45
    Till in communion blest
    With the elect ye rest—
  Those souls of countless number;
      And with them raise
      The note of praise,        50
  Reaching from earth to heaven—
  Chosen, redeemed, forgiven;
    So lay thy happy head,
    Prayer-crowned, on blessed bed.
 

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