My Prayer

Original Text: 
Marie Joussaye, The Songs that Quinte Sang (Belleville: Sun, 1895): 90-91. Internet Archive
1Ye who have struggled with me in the strife,
2    Ye who have braved the conflict, fought and bled,
3My comrades on the battle-field of Life,
4    Deal with me gently after I am dead.
5Remember not my many frailties,
6    My faults and failings, though they are not few,
7Nay, countless as the sands beside the seas,
8    Still would I ask forgetfulness from you.
9It may be that some comrade's heart hath bled,
10    Sore wounded by some careless shaft of mine,
11But let not anger live against the dead,
13And if your wrath is fierce and fain would live,
14    Remember that I also suffered wrong,
15Yet found it in my power to forgive.
16    Though Hate is mighty, Love is still more strong.
17One virtue I can surely call my own,
18    Perchance, with it, my life has not been vain;
19My ears were swift to hear another's moan,
20    My eyes were swift to weep for others' pain.
21So when you breathe my name in future years
22    Deal gently with the comrade who is gone,
23Remember her as one who shared your tears
24    And felt your sorrows even as her own.
25O friends! Deny me not the boon I ask,
26    Is human wrath more dread than that of Heaven?
27Is pardoning a fault so great a task
28    That man should dare refuse what God has given?
29Trace all my frailties in Oblivion's sand,
30    But grave my virtues deep on memory's shrine;
31When this is done by Heaven's recording hand
32    Can human hearts refuse this prayer of mine?

Notes

12] Alexander Pope, "An Essay on Criticism." II.525. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
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