I Die Alive

O life! what lets thee from a quick decease ?
O death! what draws thee from a present prey?
My feast is done, my soul would be at ease,
My grace is said, O death! come take away.

I live, but such a life as ever dies;
I die, but such a death as never ends;
My death to end my dying life denies,
And life my loving death no whit amends.

Thus still I die, yet still I do remain;
My living death by dying life is fed;
Grace more than nature keeps my heart alive,
Whose idle hopes and vain desires are dead.

Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live;
Not where I love, but where I am, I die;
The life I wish must future glory give,
The death I feel in present dangers lie.

Robert Southwell, ‘I Die Alive’, in The Poetical Works of the Rev. Robert Southwell (London: John Russell Smith, 1856), 68.

Geoffrey Bingham has written a great little book opening up the idea of love as true living. It can be purchased or downloaded from here.

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