Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
If I Could Shut the Gate against My Thoughts
By John Danyel (1564–c. 1626)
 
IF 1 I could shut the gate against my thoughts
  And keep out sorrow from this room within,
Or memory could cancel all the notes
  Of my misdeeds, and I unthink my sin:
How free, how clear, how clean my soul should lie,        5
Discharged of such a loathsome company!
 
Or were there other rooms without my heart
  That did not to my conscience join so near,
Where I might lodge the thoughts of sin apart
  That I might not their clam’rous crying hear;        10
What peace, what joy, what ease should I possess,
Freed from their horrors that my soul oppress!
 
But, O my Saviour, who my refuge art,
  Let Thy dear mercies stand ’twixt them and me,
And be the wall to separate my heart        15
  So that I may at length repose me free;
That peace, and joy, and rest may be within,
And I remain divided from my sin.
 
Note 1. From John Daniel’s Songs for the Lute, Viol, and Voice, 1606. It is supposed that the author of this poem was a brother of Samuel Daniel. Little is known of him except that he was one of the court musicians of Charles I., and the publisher of his brother’s works in 1623. [back]
 
 
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