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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

If I Could Shut the Gate against My Thoughts

John Danyel (1564–c. 1626)

IF I could shut the gate against my thoughts

And keep out sorrow from this room within,

Or memory could cancel all the notes

Of my misdeeds, and I unthink my sin:

How free, how clear, how clean my soul should lie,

Discharged of such a loathsome company!

Or were there other rooms without my heart

That did not to my conscience join so near,

Where I might lodge the thoughts of sin apart

That I might not their clam’rous crying hear;

What peace, what joy, what ease should I possess,

Freed from their horrors that my soul oppress!

But, O my Saviour, who my refuge art,

Let Thy dear mercies stand ’twixt them and me,

And be the wall to separate my heart

So that I may at length repose me free;

That peace, and joy, and rest may be within,

And I remain divided from my sin.