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Francis Quarles

(8 May 1592 – 8 September 1644 / Romford, Essex, England)

Why dost thou Shade thy Lovely Face?

1 Why dost thou shade thy lovely face? Oh, why
2 Does that eclipsing hand so long deny
3 The sunshine of thy soul-enliv'ning eye?

4 Without that light, what light remains in me?
5 Thou art my life, my way, my light; in thee
6 I live, I move, and by thy beams I see.

7 Thou art mv life; if thou but turn away
8 My life's a thousand deaths: thou art my way;
9 Without thee, Lord, I travel not, but stray.

10 My light thou art; without thy glorious sight
11 Mine eyes are darken'd with perpetual night.
12 My God, thou art my way, my life, my light.

13 Thou art my way; I wander if thou fly:
14 Thou art my light; if hid, how blind am I!
15 Thou art my life; if thou withdraw, I die.

16 Mine eyes are blind and dark, I cannot see;
17 To whom or whither should my darkness flee,
18 But to the light? and who's that light but thee?

19 My path is lost, my wand'ring steps do stray;
20 I cannot safely go, nor safely stay;
21 Whom should I seek but thee, my path, my way?

22 Oh, I am dead: to whom shall I, poor I,
23 Repair? to whom shall my sad ashes fly,
24 But life? and where is life but in thine eye?

25 And yet thou turn'st away thy face, and fly'st me;
26 And yet I sue for grace, and thou deny'st me;
27 Speak, art thou angry, Lord, or only try'st me?

28 Unscreen those heavenly lamps, or tell me why
29 Thou shad'st thy face; perhaps thou think'st no eye
30 Can view those flames, and not drop down and die.

31 If that be all, shine forth, and draw thee nigher;
32 Let me behold and die, for my desire
33 Is ph{oe}nix-like to perish in that fire.

34 Death-conquer'd Laz'rus was redeem'd by thee;
35 If I am dead, Lord, set death's prisoner free;
36 Am I more spent, or stink I worse than he?

37 If my puff'd life be out, give leave to tine
38 My shameless snuff at that bright lamp of thine;
39 Oh, what's thy light the less for lighting mine?

40 If I have lost my path, great Shepherd, say,
41 Shall I still wander in a doubtful way?
42 Lord, shall a lamb of Israel's sheep-fold stray?

43 Thou art the pilgrim's path, the blind man's eye,
44 The dead man's life; on thee my hopes rely;
45 If thou remove, I err, I grope, I die.

46 Disclose thy sunbeams; close thy wings, and stay;
47 See, see how I am blind, and dead, and stray,
48 O thou, that art my light, my life, my way.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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