1766 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Dodd

Anonymous, "Verses occasioned by going to the Magdalen Chapel, and hearing a Sermon on the text, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, &c.' preached by the Rev. Dr. D—" Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (4 October 1766).



What grateful praises, Lord, I owe
To thy benign protecting care,
Who safe my youth has guided thro'
Each secret, hidden, sinful snare.

What mercy thou to me hast shewn,
When I in thoughtless pleasures stray'd,
Though thou to me wast then unknown,
I was preserved by thine aid.

Nor didst thou suffer me to fall
A prey to Sin's alluring bait,
Tho' Pleasure's voice did often call,
And catch my too unwary feet.

When standing on the brink of sin,
Thy mercy did that moment save,
As tho' my angel guard stepp'd in,
And brought the help I did not crave.

Exerting of thy guardian pow'r,
Preventing grace did then restrain,
And keep me in the tempted hour
And save from everlasting pain.

O why on me such grace bestow'd,
More than on those whom now I've seen?
Like them, forgetful of my God,
Yet not like them I'm plunged in sin.

'Tis not because my upright mind,
Its moral rectitude could boast:
Nor yet that innocence inclin'd
My heart to love true virtue most.

Alas! the child of Adam I,
Did of his nature too partake,
Deprav'd, corrupted totally,
My heart TRUE VIRTUE did forsake.

If ought of good in me was found,
Thou didst that good thro' grace infuse;
Let all the praise to thee rebound,
Nor let me e'er that grace abuse.

Tho' still my virtue is preserv'd,
Nor has, like them, polluted been,
Yet, dare I say I never swerv'd
From God's pure laws, nor knew no sin.

My thought would prove my tongue perverse,
Should I such falshood e'er suppose;
My heart from sin is not averse,
And that the root whence evil flows.

Then let me never blindly scorn
Who yields to Sin's too easy sway;
Perhaps like them I too should turn,
Had I like them been drawn away.

Accept my heartfelt thanks, O Lord!
That I such mis'ry ne'er have known,
And be thy gracious name ador'd,
That thou to them has mercy shown.

O may they never more depart
From Virtue's fair, tho' rugged road;
Instill thy grace into their heart,
That they may love their pard'ning God.