The Poetry Corner

The Universal Prayer. Deo Opt. Max.

By Alexander Pope

Father of all! in every age, In every clime adored, By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove, or Lord! Thou great First Cause, least understood: Who all my sense confined To know but this, that Thou art good, And that myself am blind; Yet gave me, in this dark estate, To see the good from ill; And, binding nature fast in fate, Left free the human will.[131] What conscience dictates to be done, Or warns me not to do, This, teach me more than hell to shun, That, more than heaven pursue. What blessings thy free bounty gives, Let me not cast away; For God is paid when man receives; T' enjoy is to obey. Yet not to earth's contracted span Thy goodness let me bound, Or think Thee Lord alone of man, When thousand worlds are round: Let not this weak, unknowing hand Presume Thy bolts to throw, And deal damnation round the land, On each I judge Thy foe. If I am right, Thy grace impart, Still in the right to stay; If I am wrong, oh teach my heart To find that better way! Save me alike from foolish pride, Or impious discontent, At ought Thy wisdom has denied. Or ought Thy goodness lent.[132] Teach me to feel another's woe, To hide the fault I see; That mercy I to others show, That mercy show to me. Mean though I am, not wholly so, Since quicken'd by Thy breath; Oh, lead me, wheresoe'er I go, Through this day's life or death! This day, be bread and peace my lot: All else beneath the sun, Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not, And let Thy will be done. To Thee, whose temple is all space, Whose altar, earth, sea, skies! One chorus let all being raise! All Nature's incense rise!