The Lord will happiness divine
On contrite hearts bestow;
Then tell me, gracious God, is mine,
A contrite heart or no?
I hear, but seem to hear in vain,
Insensible as steel;
If aught is felt, 'tis only pain,
To find I cannot feel.
I sometimes think myself inclined
To love Thee if I could;
But often feel another mind,
Averse to all that's good.
My best deserves are faint and few,
I fain would strive for more;
But when I cry, "My strength renew!"
Seems weaker than before.
The saints are comforted, I know,
And Love Thy house of prayer;
I therefore go where others go,
But find no comfort there.
Oh make this heart rejoice or ache;
Decide this doubt for me;
And if it be not broken, break --
And heal it, if it be.
-William Cowper poemhunter.com
This poem reminds me of Psalm 51 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me..."
It seems if it was written at a despondent or darker time of Mr. Cowper's life. It is funny that we, modern Christians, find these times a surprise to the human experience rather than part of the cycle of living. I find my expectation and understanding of the "good life" has been so skewed by the false gods of comfort, materialism, relational peace and prosperity that I forget - this world is... not heaven, it holds but shadows of it. An ever recovering Romanticismcist, I suspect.