Ah! Hannah, why shouldest thou despair,
Quick to the tabernacle speed;
There on thy knees prefer thy prayer,
And there thy cause to mercy plead.
Her pious breathings now ascend,
As from her heart the sigh she heaves;
And angels to her suit attend,
Till strong in hope she now conceives.
Then Samuel soon was brought to light
To serve the Lord, as yet a child —
O what a heart-reviving sight!
Sure cherubims and seraphs smiled
Thus yet a child I may begin
To serve the Lord with all my heart;
To shun the wily lures of sin,
And claim the prize, or e’er I start.
Christopher Smart (1722-1771) was an English journalist and poet, who edited and wrote extensively for several London magazines. After suffering a mental breakdown in his thirties, his focus turned to religious poetry, of a mystical and particularly creative type.