The Search

Whither, O, whither art Thou fled,
My Lord, my Love ?
My searches are my daily bread;
Yet never prove.
My knees pierce th' earth, mine eyes the sky ;
And yet the sphere
And centre both to me deny
That Thou art there.
Yet can I mark how herbs below
Grow green and gay,
As if to meet thee they did know,
While I decay.
Yet can I mark how stars above
Simper and shine,
As having keys unto thy love,
While poor I pine.
I sent a sigh to seek thee out,
Deep drawn in pain,
Winged like an arrow: but my scout
Returns in vain.
I turned another (having store)
Into a groan;
Because the search was dumb before:
But all was one.
Lord, dost thou some new fabric mould
Which favour wins,
And keeps thee present ; leaving th' old
Unto their sins?
Where is my God? what hidden place
Conceals thee still?
What covert dare eclipse thy face?
Is it thy will?
O let not that of anything;
Let rather brass,
Or steel, or mountains be thy ring,
And I will pass.
Thy will such an entrenching is,
As passeth thought:
To it all strength, all subtilties
Are things of nought.
Thy will such a strange distance is,
As that to it
East and West touch, the poles do kiss,
And parallels meet.
Since then my grief must be as large,
As is thy space,
Thy distance from me; see my charge
Lord, see my case.
O take these bars, these lengths away;
Turn, and restore me:
Be not Almighty, let me say,
Against, but for me.
When thou dost turn, and wilt be near;
What edge so keen,
What point so piercing can appear
To come between?
For as thy absence doth excel
All distance known:
So doth thy neareness bear the bell,
Making two one.
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