This Unworthy Hand

‘Twas mine own hand that signed the sin

and wrote rebellion firm;

and etched my ink upon the sheet

of parchment in my pain—

words that still reverberate

deep inside my soul

and make me bow my head in shame.

But once I knew the water-lands of bliss

the English morning downs, and curtain banks

of mist that cheered my heart to prayers of thanks:

a piece of heaven now so dearly missed.

Inebriated in my fears

a reeling sea, unfirm,

I etched into the castle wall

desertion—and my pain,

till coaxed by satin hands and silk

and honey-sweetened lies

I ran to ink and wrote my shame.

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord,

desiring not the death of sinners here

incline Thine heart and open wide Thine ear

and stain with blood the hands that stained Thy word.

‘Tis here: the crowd to hear my sin:

the Church’s will made firm

and etched by papish hands, my heart

is bowed—so deep in pain!

My wavery words reverberate

but strange—my heart is firm

that here—at last!—I end my shame.

“From all my traitorous falseness now I turn,

and this unworthy hand that feared its death

this unworthy hand that valued breath

beyond its Lord will be the first to burn.”

‘Twas Thine own hand that took my sins

and my rebellion firm

and etched in blood upon Thy cross

desertion and Thy pain.

And still Thy words reverberate

deep inside my soul:

Thou has died to take away my shame.


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