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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

On a Long and Perilous Journey

By Paul Fleming (1609–1640)

Written on a Journey to Russia and Persia, Undertaken by the Author as Physician to the Embassy from Holstein

Translation of Catherine Winkworth

WHERE’ER I go, whate’er my task,

The counsel of my God I ask,

Who all things hath and can;

Unless He give both thought and deed,

The utmost pains can ne’er succeed,

And vain the wisest plan.

For what can all my toil avail?

My care, my watching all must fail,

Unless my God is there;

Then let him order all for me

As he in wisdom shall decree;

On him I cast my care.

For naught can come, as naught hath been,

But what my Father hath foreseen,

And what shall work my good;

Whate’er he gives me I will take,

Whate’er he chooses I will make

My choice with thankful mood.

I lean upon his mighty arm,—

It shields me well from every harm,

All evil shall avert;

If by his precepts still I live,

Whate’er is useful he will give,

And naught shall do me hurt.

But only may he of his grace

The record of my guilt efface

And wipe out all my debt;

Though I have sinned, he will not straight

Pronounce his judgment,—he will wait,

Have patience with me yet.

I travel to a distant land

To serve the post wherein I stand,

Which he hath bade me fill;

And he will bless me with his light,

That I may serve his world aright,

And make me know his will.

And though through desert wilds I fare,

Yet Christian friends are with me there,

And Christ himself is near;

In all our dangers he will come,

And he who kept me safe at home

Can keep me safely here.

Yes, he will speed us on our way,

And point us where to go and stay,

And help us still and lead;

Let us in health and safety live,

And time and wind and weather give,

And whatsoe’er we need.

When late at night my rest I take,

When early in the morn I wake,

Halting or on my way,

In hours of weakness or in bonds,

When vexed with fears my heart desponds,

His promise is my stay.

Since, then, my course is traced by him,

I will not fear that future dim,

But go to meet my doom,

Well knowing naught can wait me there

Too hard for me through him to bear;

I yet shall overcome.

To him myself I wholly give,

At his command I die or live,

I trust his love and power:

Whether to-morrow or to-day

His summons come, I will obey,—

He knows the proper hour.

But if it please that love most kind,

And if this voice within my mind

Be whispering not in vain,

I yet shall praise my God ere long

In many a sweet and joyful song,

In peace at home again.

To those I love will he be near,

With his consoling light appear,

Who is my shield and theirs;

And he will grant beyond our thought

What they and I alike have sought

With many tearful prayers.

Then, O my soul, be ne’er afraid;

On Him who thee and all things made

With calm reliance rest;

Whate’er may come, where’er we go,

Our Father in the heavens must know

In all things what is best.