Love is the Lord whom I obey,
Whose will transported I perform;
The centre of my rest, my stay,
Love's all in all to me, myself a worm.
For uncreated charms I burn,
Oppressed by slavish fear no more,
For One in whom I may discern,
E'en when he frowns, a sweetness I adore.
He little loves him who complains,
And finds him rigorous and severe;
His heart is sordid, and he feigns,
Though loud in boasting of a soul sincere.
Love causes grief, but 'tis to move
And stimulate the slumbering mind;
And he has never tasted love
Who shuns a plan so graciously designed.
Sweet is the cross, above all sweets,
To souls enamoured with thy smiles;
The keenest woe life ever meets,
Love strips of all its terrors, and beguiles.
'Tis just that God should not be dear
Where self engrosses all the thought,
And groans and murmurs make it clear,
Whatever else is loved, the Lord is not.
The love of thee flows just as much
As that of ebbing self subsides;
Our hearts, their scantiness is such,
Bear not the conflict of two rival tides.
Both cannot govern in one soul;
Then let self–love be dispossessed;
The love of God deserves the whole,
And will not dwell with so despised a guest.
Translations from the French of Madame de la Mothe Guion