Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
De Profundis
IV. George Gascoigne
 
FROM 1 depth of doole wherein my soule dooth dwell,
From heauie heart which harbors in my brest,
From troubled sprite whych sildome taketh rest,
From hope of heauen, from dreade of darkesome hell,
O gracious God, to thee I crie and yell:        5
My God, my Lorde, my louely Lorde alone,
To thee I call, to thee I make my mone.
And thou, good God, vouchsafe in gree to take
        This wofull plaint
        Wherein I faint:—        10
Oh, heare me then, for thy great mercies sake!
 
Oh, bende thine eares attentiuely to heare,
Oh, turne thine eies—behold me how I waile;
Oh, hearken, Lorde, giue eare for mine auaile;
Oh, marke in minde the burthens that I beare!        15
See how I sinke in sorrowes euerywhere;
Beholde and see what dolors I indure;
Giue eare and marke what plaints I put in vre:
Bende willing eare, and pitie therewithall
        My wayling voyce,        20
        Which hath no choyce
But euermore upon thy name to call.
 
If thou, good Lorde, shouldst take thy rod in hande,
If thou regard what sinnes are daylye done,
If thou take hold where wee our workes begone,        25
If thou decree in iudgment for to stande,
And be extreame to see our ’scuses scand,—
If thou take note of euerythinge amisse,
And wryte in rowles how fraile our nature is,
O gloryous God! O King! O Prince of power!        30
        What mortall wight
        May then haue light
To feele thy frowne, if thou haue list to lowre?
 
But thou art good, and hast of mercye store;
Thou not delyhgtst to see a sinner fall;        35
Thou hearknest first before wee come to call;
Thine eares are set wyde open euermore;
Before wee knocke, thou commest to the doore:
Thou art more prest to heare a sinner crie
Then he is quicke to climbe to thee on hye.        40
Thy mighty name bee praysed then alwaye:
        Let fayth and feare
        True witnesse beare,
Howe fast they stand which on thy mercie staye.
 
I looke for thee, my louelye Lord, therefore;        45
For thee I wayte, for thee I tarrye styll:
Mine eies doe long to gaze on thee my fyll;
For thee I watche, for thee I prie and pore:
My soule for thee attendeth euermore;
My soule dooth thyrst to take of thee a tast;        50
My soule desires with thee for to be plast;
And to thy worde, which can no man deceiue,—
        Myne only trust,
        My loue and lust,—
In confidence continuallye shall cleaue.        55
 
Before the breake or dawning of the daye,
Before the lyght be seene in lofty skies,
Before the sunne appeare in pleasant wyse,
Before the watche—before the watche, I saye,
Before the ward that waits therefore alway,        60
My soule, my sence, my secreete thought, my sprite,
My wyll, my wish, my ioye, and my delight,
Unto the Lord that sittes in heauen on hie,
        With hastie wing,
        From me dooth fling,        65
And stryueth styll unto the Lorde to flie.
 
O Israel, O housholde of the Lorde,
O Abraham’s brats, O broode of blessed seede—
O chosen sheepe, that loue the Lord indeede—
O hungrye heartes, feede styll upon his worde,        70
And put your trust in him with one accorde!
For he hath mercye euermore at hande;
His fountaines flowe, his springs doe neuer stand;
And plenteouslye he loueth to redeeme
        Such sinners all        75
        As on him call,
And faithfully his mercies most esteeme.
 
He wylle redeeme our deadly, drowping state;
He wylle bring home the sheepe that goe astray;
He wylle helpe them that hope in him alwaye;        80
He wylle appease our discorde and debate;
He wylle soon saue, though wee repent us late.
He wylle be ours, if we continue his;
He wylle bring bale to ioye and perfect blis;
He wylle redeeme the flocke of his elect        85
        From all that is,
        Or was amisse
Since Abraham’s heires did first his lawes reiect.
 
Note 1. IV. George Gascoigne.—The time and place of the birth of this old English poet are unknown. His occupation was the profession of arms, and he was likewise a follower of the court of Elizabeth: we find that he accompanied the queen in one of her progresses. His poems are numerous, and of a miscellaneous character. In republishing his works Gascoigne thought proper to deprecate censure on the poetical levities of his youth; and the preface is thus addressed: “To the reuerende deuines unto whom these posies shall happen to be presented, George Gascoigne, Esquire, professing armes in defence of God’s trueth, wisheth quiet in conscience, and all consolation in Christ Jesus.” The religious poems of Gascoigne were evidently written in what he calls his “middle age,” when he saw and lamented the follies of his youth. The original editions of his poems are among the rarest books in the English language. Gascoigne died in a religious, calm, and happy frame of mind, in 1577. [back]
 
 
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