When for the thorns with which I long too long,
With many a piercing wound,
My Saviour's head have crowned,
- seek with garlands to redress that wrong,
Through every garden, every mead
- gather flowers--my fruits are only flowers--
Dismantling all the fragrant towers
That once adorned my shepherdess's head;
- now, when I have summed up all my store,
Thinking--so I myself deceive--
So rich a chaplet thence to weave
As never yet the King of glory wore;
Alas! I find the serpent old,
That, twining in his speckled breast,
About the flowers disguised does fold,
With wreaths of fame and interest.
Ah, foolish man that wouldst debase with them
And mortal glory, heaven's diadem!
But thou who only couldst the serpent tame,
Either his slippery knots at once untie,
And disentangle all his winding snare,
Or shatter too with him my curious frame,
And let these wither, that so he may die,
Though set with skill, and chosen out with care;
That they, while thou on both their spoils dost tread,
May crown thy feet that could not crown thy head.
A true sacrifice of worship, if not a garland of praise! The disciple
would have his works tried by the fire, not only that the gold and the
precious stones may emerge relucent, but that the wood and hay and
stubble may perish. The will of God alone, not what we may have effected,
deserves our care. In the perishing of our deeds they fall at his feet:
in our willing their loss we crown his head.