Turning earth's night to day,
If self were not so fast around me, clinging
To all I do or say.
My very thoughts are selfish, always building
Mean castles in the air;
I use my love of others for a gilding
To make myself look fair.
I fancy all the world engross'd with judging
My merit or my blame;
Its warmest praise seems an ungracious grudging
Of praise which I might claim.
In youth or age, by city, wood, or mountain,
Self is forgotten never;
Where'er we tread, it gushes like a fountain,
And its waters flow for ever.
Alas! no speed in life can snatch us wholly
Out of self's hateful sight;
And it keeps step, whene'er we travel slowly,
And sleeps with us at night.
O miserable omnipresence, stretching
Over all time and space,
How have I run from thee, yet found thee reaching
The goal in every race!
The opiate balms of grace may haply still thee,
Deep in my nature lying;
For I may hardly hope, alas! to kill thee,
Save by the act of dying.
O LORD! that I could waste my life for others,
With no ends of my own,
That I could pour myself into my brothers,
And live for them alone!
Such was the life Thou livedst; self abjuring,
Thine own pains never easing,
Our burdens bearing, our just doom enduring,
A life without self-pleasing!