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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Mary Countess of Pembroke (1555?–1621)


O LORD, 1 in me there lieth nought
  But to Thy search revealed lies;
          For when I sit
          Thou markest it;
  No less Thou notest when I rise;        5
Yea, closest closet of my thought
  Hath open windows to Thine eyes.
Thou walkest with me when I walk;
  When to my bed for rest I go,
          I find Thee there        10
          And everywhere:
  Not youngest thought in me doth grow,
No, not one word I cast to talk,
  But, yet unuttered, Thou dost know.
If forth I march, Thou go’st before;        15
  If back I turn, Thou com’st behind;
          So forth nor back
          Thy guard I lack.
  Nay, on me too Thy hand I find.
Well I Thy wisdom may adore        20
  But never reach with earthy mind.
To shun Thy notice, leave Thine eye,
  O whither might I take my way?
          To starry sphere?
          Thy throne is there.        25
  To dead men’s undelightsome stay?
There is Thy walk, and there to lie
  Unknown in vain I should assay.
O sun, whom light nor flight can match,
  Suppose thy lightful flightful wings        30
          Thou lend to me
          And I could flee
  As far as Thee the evening brings:
Ev’n led to west He would me catch,
  Nor should I lurk with western things.        35
Do thou thy best, O secret night,
  In sable veil to cover me:
          Thy sable veil
          Shall vainly fail;
  With day unmasked my night shall be;        40
For night is day, and darkness light,
  O Father of all lights, to Thee.
Note 1. Mary Herbert, celebrated in Browne’s epitaph as “Sidney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother,” versified the Psalter, from Psalm xliv. to the end; her brother being responsible for the earlier portion. [back]