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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Hymns. IV. The Agony (“O soul of Jesus”)

Frederick William Faber (1814–1863)

O SOUL of Jesus, sick to death!

Thy blood and prayer together plead;

My sins have bowed Thee to the ground,

As the storm bows the feeble reed.

Midnight—and still the oppressive load

Upon Thy tortured heart doth lie;

Still the abhorred procession winds

Before Thy spirit’s quailing eye.

Deep waters have come in, O Lord!

All darkly on Thy human soul;

And clouds of supernatural gloom

Around Thee are allowed to roll.

The weight of the eternal wrath

Drives over Thee with pressure dread;

And, forced upon the olive roots,

In deathlike sadness droops Thy head.

Thy spirit weighs the sins of men;

Thy science fathoms all their guilt;

Thou sickenest heavily at Thy heart,

And the pores open,—blood is spilt.

And Thou hast struggled with it, Lord

Even to the limit of Thy strength,

While hours, whose minutes were as years.

Slowly fulfilled their weary length.

And Thou hast shuddered at each act,

And shrunk with an astonished fear,

As if Thou couldst not bear to see

The loathsomeness of sin so near.

Sin and the Father’s anger! they

Have made Thy lower nature faint;

All, save the love within Thy heart,

Seemed for the moment to be spent.

My God! my God! and can it be

That I should sin so lightly now,

And think no more of evil thoughts,

Than of the wind that waves the bough?

I sin,—and heaven and earth go round,

As if no dreadful deed were done,

As if Christ’s blood had never flowed

To hinder sin, or to atone.

I walk the earth with lightsome step,

Smile at the sunshine, breathe the air

Do my own will, nor ever heed

Gethsemane and Thy long prayer.

Shall it be always thus, O Lord?

Wilt Thou not work this hour in me

The grace Thy passion merited,

Hatred of self and love of Thee?

Ever when tempted, make me see,

Beneath the olive’s moon-pierced shade,

My God, alone, outstretched, and bruised,

And bleeding, on the earth He made.

And make me feel it was my sin,

As though no other sins there were,

That was to Him who bears the world

A load that He could scarcely bear!