Littell's Living Age/Volume 143/Issue 1842/Importunity

Originally published in Good Words.


      He standeth knocking at the door:
          "O Lord! how long? how long?
     Weeping, thy patience I adore,
          And yet the bars are strong:
Lord, draw them for me, for my hand is weak,
The night is chill. Enter thou till the streak
Of ruddy morning flush the day's young cheek!"

     He standeth knocking, knocking still;
           "Sweet, pleading voice, I hear,"
     The mist is rolling from the hill,
          The fourth slow watch is near:
Through the small lattice I beheld his face,
In the cold starlight, full of pitying grace,
Yet - how to guest him, in so mean a place?

     He standeth knocking, knocking loud!
          Yes! for the timbers creak:
     Eastward there low'rs an angry cloud;
           "Sweet Saviour, hear me speak;
Oh, bide not there to feel the drenching rain!
I bid thee welcome; but in grief and pain
Tell thee, my strength against these bars is vain."

          He standeth knocking, knocking oft,
     The day of grace wears on,
          The chiding spirit whispers soft,
      "Perchance he may be gone
While thou still lingerest." "Not the bars alone
Keep thee out, Lord: against the door is thrown
Sand-bags of care and hoarded gains and stone."

          He standeth knocking, knocking faint;
      "Blest Saviour, leave me not;
          But let me tell thee my complaint,
     The misery of my lot,
And let me sweep the floor thy feet must press,
Deck myself royally for thy caress,
Make myself worthy, ere thou stoop to bless!"

          He standeth knocking, knocking still;
      "Lord, help me in my doubt,
          Must I put forth this feeble will
     To draw thee from without?
Then help my weakness." Hear each stern bar give,
The door flies backward: he but whispers "Live!"
While on his patient breast I, weeping, plead "Forgive!"