To Heaven

A poem by Ben Jonson

Good, and great God, can I not think of thee,
But it must, straight, my melancholy bee?
Is it interpreted in mee disease,
That, laden with my sinnes. I seeke for ease?
O, be thou witnesse, that the reines dost know,
And hearts of all, if I be sad for show,
And judge mee after: if I dare pretend
To ought but grace, or ayme at other end.
As thou art all, so be thou all to mee,
First, midst, and last, converted one, and three;
My faith, my hope, my love: and in this state,
My judge, my witnesse, and my advocate.
Where have I been this while exil'd from thee?
And whither rapt, now thou but stoup'st to mee?
Dwell, dwell here still: O, being every-where,
How can I doubt to finde thee ever, here?
I know my state, both full of shame, and scorne,
Conceiv'd in sinne, and unto labour borne,
Standing with feare, and must with horror fall,
And destin'd unto judgement, after all.
I feele my griefes too, and there scarce is ground,
Upon my flesh t'inflict another wound.
Yet dare I not complaine, or wish for death
With holy Paul, lest it be thought the breath
Of Discontent; or that these prayers bee
For wearinesse of life, not love of thee.

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