Unkindness

Lord, make me coy and tender to offend:
In frienship first I think if that agree,
                    Which I intend,
          Unto my friend’s intent and end.
I would not use a friend, as I use Thee.

If any touch my friend, or his good name,
It is my honour and my love to free
                    His blasted fame
          From the least spot or thought of blame.
I could not use a friend as I use Thee.

My friend may spit upon my curious floor:
Would he have gold? I lend it instantly;
                    But let the poor,
          And Thou within them starve at door.
I cannot use a friend, as I use Thee.

When that my friend pretendeth to a place,
I quit my interest, and leave it free:
                    But when Thy grace
          Sues for my heart, I Thee displace,
Nor would I use a friend as I use Thee.

Yet can a friend what Thou hast done fulfil?
O write in brass, My God upon a tree
                    His blood did spill
          Only to purchase my good-will:
Yet use I not my foes, as I use Thee.

George Herbert, 1633

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