20. Stanzas on the same Occasion
WHY am I loth to leave this earthly scene?
Have I so found it full of pleasing charms?
Some drops of joy with draughts of ill between—
Some gleams of sunshine ’mid renewing storms,
Is it departing pangs my soul alarms?
Or death’s unlovely, dreary, dark abode?
For guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms:
I tremble to approach an angry God,
And justly smart beneath His sin-avenging rod.
Fain would I say, “Forgive my foul offence,”
Fain promise never more to disobey;
But, should my Author health again dispense,
Again I might desert fair virtue’s way;
Again in folly’s part might go astray;
Again exalt the brute and sink the man;
Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray
Who act so counter heavenly mercy’s plan?
Who sin so oft have mourn’d, yet to temptation ran?
O Thou, great Governor of all below!
If I may dare a lifted eye to Thee,
Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow,
Or still the tumult of the raging sea:
With that controlling pow’r assist ev’n me,
Those headlong furious passions to confine,
For all unfit I feel my pow’rs to be,
To rule their torrent in th’ allowed line;
O, aid me with Thy help, Omnipotence Divine!
by Robert Burns
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