Confession

Oh what a cunning guest
Is this same grief! Within my heart I made
Closets; and in them many a chest;
And like a master in my trade,
In those chests, boxes; in each box, a till:
Yet grief knows all, and enters when he will.

No screw, no piercer can
Into a piece of timber work and wind
As God's afflictions into man,
When he a torture hath designed.
They are too subtle for the subtlest hearts,
And fall, like rheums, upon the tenderest parts.

We are the earth; and they,
Like moles within us, heave and cast about:
And till they foot and clutch their prey,
They never cool, much less give out.
No smith can make such locks, but they have keys:
Closets are halls to them, and hearts, highways.

Only an open breast
Doth shut them out, so that they cannot enter,
Or, if they enter, cannot rest,
But quickly seek some new adventure.
Smooth open hearts no fastening have, but fiction
Doth give a hold and handle to affliction.

Wherefore my faults and sins,
Lord, I acknowledge; take thy plagues away:
For since confession pardon wins,
I challenge here the brightest day,
The clearest diamond: let them do their best,
They shall be thick and cloudy to my breast.
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