Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Thoughts and Fancies (1887).
I. “One thing I of the Lord desire”
By Walter Chalmers Smith (1824–1908)
ONE thing I of the Lord desire—
  For all my way hath miry been—
Be it by water or by fire,
  O make me clean.
Erewhile I strove for perfect truth,        5
  And thought it was a worthy strife;
But now I leave that aim of youth
  For perfect life.
If clearer vision Thou impart,
  Grateful and glad my soul shall be;        10
But yet to have a purer heart
  Is more to me.
Yea, only as the heart is clean
  May larger vision yet be mine,
For mirrored in its depths are seen        15
  The things divine.
I watch to shun the miry way,
  And stanch the spring of guilty thought
But, watch and wrestle as I may,
  Pure I am not.        20
So wash Thou me without, within;
  Or purge with fire, if that must be;
No matter how, if only sin
  Die out in me.

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