A Sonnet by Anne Locke (1560)

(Editor’s Note: This is part of the first sonnet sequence published in the English language.  It is based on contemplation on Psalm 51. It was published with a collection of John Calvin sermons that Anne Lock had translated from French to English.)

Have mercy, God, for thy great mercy’s sake.
O God: my God, unto my shame I say,
Being fled from thee, so as I dread to take
Thy name in wretched mouth, and fear to pray
Or ask the mercy that I have abused.
But, God of mercy, let me come to thee:
Not for justice, that justly am accused:
Which self word Justice so amazeth me,
That scarce I dare thy mercy sound again.
But mercy, Lord, yet suffer me to crave.
Mercy is thine: Let me not cry in vain,
Thy great mercy for my great fault to have.
Have mercy, God, pity my penitence
With greater mercy than my great offense.

by Anne Lock, 1560


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