Thursday 13 March 2014

Full version of Brorson's 'balance sheet' poem

Come, heart! draw up your balance sheet

Come, heart! draw up your balance sheet,
Your days on earth list clearly,
Make sure you feel no urge to cheat
Or to omit things merely!
Your sum of deeds upon this earth
To what have they amounted?
Mark, soul secure, all since your birth
God’s register has counted

Though all time passes and is gone,
Will disappear for ever,
What in the course of time you’ve done
Is from you parted never,
For God will judge the world one day
At just a single sitting,
Each deed, word, thought he then will weigh
And mete out what is fitting.

How many foul and evil words
Walk cheerfully together
That are to spite and murder stirred
When damned souls them untether,
Who is it does not feel appalled
By bloody oaths, the swearing
With which one finds both great and small
Infect their speech, uncaring?

How much deceit and guile’s concealed
In heart’s foul hidden chamber,
And fleshly lusts though unrevealed
Still smoulder in great number!
You think that all’s got out the way,
That danger’s been averted;
But God has fixed the final day
When such will be subverted.

It would require, to plot the sum
Of sins seen as offending
Which one (in spite of wrath to come
And that which has no ending)
Commits and then God’s ire can’t stay,
And takes no thought whatever
That unconverted souls one day
Hell’s torment taste forever.

Oh, soul secure! That lives for sure
At this world’s final ending,
A world, like Sodom, so impure
that fire will soon be rending,
You who have wasted time on earth
On foul sins great in number,
And will maybe, at New Year’s birth,
Yourself anew encumber.

Recall, recall how fast they passed
Those other days of mercy!
What if this moment were your last,
Though such a thought accursed be!
Think, if some brief time still be found,
Of what you should be doing –
Your talent’s hidden in the ground
No interest’s accruing!

At mercy’s seat you shall repent
Both humbly and sincerely,
For Jesu’s sake pray God relent
From judging you severely,
The hours of mercy that remain
Make sure you’re better spending,
So at life’s evening you may gain
A sweet and blessed ending!

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