‘Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend’


Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum; verumtamen 

justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c. 

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend 

With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just. 

Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must 

Disappointment all I endeavour end? 

    Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend, 

How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost 

Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust 

Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend, 

Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes 

Now, leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again 

With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes 

Them; birds build – but not I build; no, but strain, 

Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes. 

Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)