[I have heard the third verse of this very moving Prayer quoted by
scrupulous men as a proof that the poet imputed his errors to the
Being who had endowed him with wild and unruly passions. The meaning
is very different: Burns felt the torrent-strength of passion
overpowering his resolution, and trusted that God would be merciful to
the errors of one on whom he had bestowed such o'ermastering gifts.]
O Thou unknown, Almighty Cause
Of all my hope and fear?
In whose dread presence, ere an hour
Perhaps I must appear!
If I have wander'd in those paths
Of life I ought to shun;
As something, loudly, in my breast,
Remonstrates I have done;
Thou know'st that Thou hast formed me,
With passions wild and strong;
And list'ning to their witching voice
Has often led me wrong.
Where human weakness has come short,
Or frailty stept aside,
Do Thou, All-Good! for such thou art,
In shades of darkness hide.
Where with intention I have err'd,
No other plea I have,
But, Thou art good; and goodness still
Delighteth to forgive.