Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
What have we done, Oh Lord, that we
Are evil starred?
How have we erred and sinned to be
So scourged and scarred?
Lash us, Oh Lord, with scorpion whips,
We can but run;
But harken to our piteous lips:
What have we done?
How have we sinned to rouse your wrath,
To earn your scorn?
Stony and steep has been our path
Since we were born.
Oh for a sign, a hope, a word,
A heaven glance;
Why is your hand against us, Lord?
Give us a chance.
What shall we do, Oh God, to gain
Your mercy seat?
Shall we live out our lives in pain
And dark defeat?
Shall we in servitude bow low
Unto the end?
How we would hope, could we but know
You are our friend!
We are the disinherited,
The doomed, the lost.
For breath with dust and ashes fed,
We pay the cost.
Dumb mouths! Yet though we bleed, with prayer
We kiss the sword;
Aye, even dying we forbear
To curse Thee, Lord.
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