The Contrite Heart

The Lord will happiness divine

On contrite hearts bestow:

Then tell me, gracious God, is mine

A contrite heart, or no?

I hear, but seem to hear in vain,

Insensible as steel;

If aught is felt, ’tis only pain,

To find I cannot feel.

I sometimes think myself inclin’d

To love thee, if I could;

But often feel another mind,

Averse to all that’s good.

My best desires are faint and few,

I fain would strive for more;

But when I cry, “My strength renew”

Seem weaker than before.

O make this heart rejoice or ache;

Decide this doubt for me;

And if it be not broken, break,

And heal it if it be.

Text: The History of Jenny Hickling: An Authentic Narrative (New York: American Tract Society, [c. 1825]; also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 7, pp. 325-26.