38. Absolution

O FATHER, list a sinner's call!
Fain would I hide from man my fall—
      But I must speak, or faint—
I cannot wear guilt's silent thrall:
      Cleanse me, kind Saint!

"Sinner ne'er blunted yet sin's goad;
Speed thee, my son, a safer road,
      And sue His pardoning smile
Who walk'd woe's depths, bearing man's load
      Of guilt the while."

Yet raise a mitigating hand,
And minister some potion bland,
      Some present fever-stay!
Lest one for whom His work was plann'd
      Die from dismay. {84}

"Look not to me—no grace is mine;
But I can lift the Mercy-sign.
      This wouldst thou? Let it be!
Kneel down, and take the word divine,
      ABSOLVO TE."

Off Cape St. Vincent
December 14, 1832.

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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