Why is my heart so oft distrest
In seeking comfort here?
Why do my thoughts unstable prove
And seldom calms appear?
O how my busie tho’ts do rove
On trifling things below,
And cannot rest on things above
Where springs of blessing flow!
How do I vex and grieve my Soul
With weariness and pain,
While rambling thro’ this desart land
I seek for rest in vain!
But Lord it is thy Glory still
That I would have in view:
O give me peace and give me strength
Thy Glory I’ll pursue!
I can’t enjoy my self in thee
While thorns do wound my heart;
Heal thou the passions of my mind,
Cure thou my bleeding smart!
Hast thou not call’d me by thy Grace
To seek thy promis’d Love?
Lord I would love thy absent face
But yet my passions rove.
Have I not beg’d and oft implor’d
Thou wouldst my heart recall?
And shall I seek thy aid in vain
And not resign to all?
Are thy ears deafen’d to my cry
That will not hear my moan?
Sure there is pity in thy heart
To answer every groan!
If thou’lt not answer, let me vent
My soul in floods of tears;
Whilst thou art deaf to my complaint,
May it unseal thy ears!
Lord if thou lead me by this hand
Why must I anguish feel?
Why doest thou then withold thy strength
To bow my stubborn will?
Incline thine ear O Lord and hear
And let me hear thee speak;
And if my heart then flinty be
Thy grace the flint can break.
Do thou indulge my weak address
Since thou delight’st to show
Thy mercy to the seeking soul
That waits on thee below.
Lord shall I seek and seek in vain
And still no answer have?
Lord canst thou ever be unkind
To those whom thou wilt save?
Or have my sins block’d up the way
Thou canst not enter o’er?
Sure thou art wisdom to direct
As well as strength and pow’r!
Lord thou shalt be my all in all
If thou wilt me direct,
And still thy goodness I’ll proclaim
And walk more circumspect.
And if thou wilt but once impart
Thy gracious Love to me,
I’ll then resign my hand and heart
And all I have to thee.
Text: Steele Collection, 3/1/5, no. 5 Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford; this poem first published in Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840, vol. 2 (ed. Julia B. Griffin), p. 128-29.