Henry King (16 January 1592 – 30 September 1669 / Worminghall, Buckinghamshire)
A Penitential Hymne
Hearken O God unto a Wretches cryes
Who low dejected at thy footstool lies.
Let not the clamour of my heinous sin
Drown my requests, which strive to enter in
At those bright gates, which alwaies open stand
To such as beg remission at thy hand.
Too well I know, if thou in rigour deal
I can nor pardon ask, nor yet appeal:
To my hoarse voice, heaven will no audience grant,
But deaf as brass, and hard as adamant
Beat back my words; therefore I bring to thee
A gracious Advocate to plead for me.
What though my leprous soul no Jordan can
Recure, nor flouds of the lav'd Ocean
Make clean? yet from my Saviours bleeding side
Two large and medicinable rivers glide.
Lord, wash me where those streams of life abound,
And new Bethesdaes flow from ev'ry wound.
If I this precious Lather may obtain,
I shall not then despair for any stain;
I need no Gileads balm, nor oyl, nor shall
I for the purifying Hyssop call:
My spots will vanish in His purple flood,
And Crimson there turn white, though washt with blood.
See Lord! with broken heart and bended knee,
How I address my humble suit to Thee;
O give that suit admittance to thy ears
Which floats to thee not in my words but tears:
And let my sinful soul this mercy crave
Before I fall into the silent grave.
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