My Ashlar

O, Master Builder, here I bring
This ashlar as my offering-
This block entrusted to my care-
O, try it by thy faultless square.
Prove Thou the stone which I have brought,
Judge Thou the task my hands have wrought-
My hands unskilled! Ah, much I fear
Their work imperfect shall appear.

See, Master, here were corners rough
Which marred the stone, so stubborn, tough,
They long withstood my gables blow;
What toil they cost, Thou mayest know.
My zeal I own did often swoon
Ere from the ashlar they were hewn;
(Ah, vice and habit, conquered now,
With agony you wrung my brow.)

Crushed by the load of guilt I bear,
O, Master look on my despair,
For where was drawn Thy fair design
My plan appears in many a line.
Hot tear, alas, cannot efface
The flaws which speak of my disgrace:
Too late the mischief to undo,
My ashlar I submit to you.

O, Master, grant this boon to me;
Unworthy though my stone may be,
Cast it not utterly away,
But let it rest beside the way
Where its grave flaws may warning be
To him who follows after me.
If he thereby my faults may shun,
I’ll feel some grain of worth I’ve won.

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