The Edge of Mercy
If vengeance be Thy sovereign right alone,
most sovereign God, on highest spheres enthroned,
cast forth Thine hand, spend earnèd wrath in whole;
no longer test and try my vexèd soul.
Thine enemies, and mine, swagger arrayed
in blasphemies of Thy great Name betrayed,
against my soul adorned in mockery,
and swathed in self-assigned sublimity.
And, yet, by Thine inviolate command
of mercy, stayest Thou my dreadnaught hand.
They ravish grace, they howl and plead for Hell,
but bidest Thou, and bid me bide as well.
Though judgment is, upon Thy lips, an oath
they guzzle nectars bled from sundered troth.
Thy words of justice taste to me as ash
as saints, by reprobates, are strewn and dashed.
If mercy be Thy plea, consider these:
saints, martyred, 'neath Thine altar, unappeased,
who cry “How long ere Thou avenge, O Lord?”,
their solace in the promise of Thy sword.
As they, so do I yearn to see Thine arm
uphold Thy crownèd Name from sland'rous harm,
guard jealously Thy Maiden's virgin bloom,
wreak havoc on twice-treas'nous souls, their doom.
For Thou will judge: Thou promised ere Thou must.
I cling to this though arms and armor rust:
Thou, Christ, the Lamb by whom my sin was borne
must never suffer twice such grievous scorn.
Despising scorn, contemning every shame,
Thou will display the terror of Thy Name,
Thine heav'nly host distending spheres of sky,
triumphant battle-banner hoisted high!
But, now until that day, I must endure
damnable filth slung 'pon Thee, wholly pure.
So, impotent, my broken, shadowed heart
grasps, mad, as glory's echoes dim, depart.
Thy Kingdom come, and leave no place to flee.
Thy will be done, spare none which disagree.
This bond-slave first: search every hidden thing.
This bond-slave holds no fear of judgment's sting.