Nothing hidden

Daily Reading for December 4 • John of Damascus, Priest, c. 760

From my lips in their defilement,

From my heart in its beguilement,

From my tongue which speaks not fair,

From my soul stained everywhere,

O my Jesus, take my prayer!

Spurn me not for all it says,

Not for words and not for ways,

Not for shamelessness endued!

Make me brave to speak my mood,

O my Jesus, as I would!

Or teach me, which I rather seek,

What to do and what to speak.

I have sinned more than she,

Who learning where to meet with Thee,

And bringing myrrh, the highest-priced,

Anointed bravely, from her knee,

Thy blessed feet accordingly,

My God, my Lord, my Christ!

As Thou saidest not “Depart”

To that suppliant from her heart,

Scorn me not, O Word, that art

The gentlest one of all words said!

But give Thy feet to me instead

That tenderly I may them kiss

And clasp them close, and never miss

With over-dropping tears, as free

And precious as that myrrh could be,

T’anoint them bravely from my knee!

Wash me with Thy tears: draw nigh me,

That their salt may purify me.

Thou remit my sins who knowest

All the sinning to the lowest—

Knowest all my wounds, and seest

All the stripes Thyself decreest;

Yea, but knowest all my faith,

Seest all my force to death,

Hearest all my wailings low,

That mine evil should be so!

Nothing hidden but appears

In Thy knowledge, O Divine,

O Creator, Saviour mine—

Not a drop of falling tears,

Not a breath of inward moan,

Not a heart-beat—which is gone!

From the Anacreontic Hymn of John of Damascus, quoted in The Greek Christian Poets and the English Poets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (London: Chapman and Hall, 1863). Found at

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