God Strengthen Me

God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care...

If I could once lay down myself,
And start self-purged upon the race
That all must run! Death runs apace.

If I could set aside myself,
And start with lightened heart upon
The road by all men overgone!

God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease, and rest and joys:

Myself, arch-traitor to myself,
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe
My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me,
Break off the yoke and set me free.

--Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), in Prayers, ed. Peter Washington (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), p. 66.

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