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The TRANSLATION of the XIIth PSALM.
HELP, Lord, for godly men have took their flight,
And left the earth to be the wicked's den: Not one that standeth fast to truth and right,
But fears, or seeks to please, the eyes of men. When one with other falls in talk apart,
Their meaning go'th not with their words, in proof, But fair they flatter, with a cloven heart,
By pleasing words, to work their own behoof.
But God cut off the lips, that are all set
To trap the harmless soul, that peace hath vow'd; And pierce the tonguess that seek to counterfeit
The confidence of truth, by lying loud :
Yet so they think to reign, and work their will
By subtile speech, which enters ev'ry where;
And say: Our tongues are ours, to help us still;
What need we any higher pow'r to fear?
Now for the bitter sighing of the poor,
The Lord hath said, I will no more forbear The wicked's kingdom'to invade and scour,
And set at large the men restrain'd in fear.
And sure the word of God is pure and fine,
And in the trial never loseth weight;
Like noble gold, which, since it left the mine,
Hath seven times passed through the fiery strait.
And now thou wilt not first thy word forsake,
Nor yet the righteous man that leans thereto; But wilt his safe protection undertake,
In spite of all their force and wiles can do. And time it is, O Lord, thou didst draw nigh;
The wicked daily do enlarge their bands ; And that which makes them follow ill a vie,
Rule is betaken to unworthy hands..',
The TRANSLATION of the XCth PSALM.
O LORD, thou art our home, to whom we fly,
And so hast always been from age to age :
Before the hills did intercept the eye,
Or that the frame was up of earthly stage,
One God thou wert, and art, and still shalt be;
The line of time, it doth not measure thee.
Both death and life obey thy holy lore,
And visit in their turns, as they are sent;
A thousand years with thee they are no more
Than yesterday, which, ere it is, is spent :
Or as a watch by night, that course doth keep,
And goes, and comes, unwares to them that sleep
Thou carry'st man away as with a tide:
Then down swim all his thoughts that mounted
Much like a mocking dream, that will not bide,
But flies before the sight of waking eye;
Or as the grass, that cannot term obtain,
To see the summer come about again.
At morning, fair it musters on the ground;
At ev'n it is cut down, and laid along :
And though it spared were, and favour found,
The weather would perform the mower's wrong:
Thus hast thou hang'd our life on brittle pins,
To let us know it will not bear our sins.
Thou bury'st not within oblivion's tomb
Our trespasses, but ent'rest them aright;
Ev'n those that are conceiv'd in darkness womb,
To thee appear as done at broad day-light.
As a tale told, which sometimes men attend,
And sometimes not, our life steals to an end.
The life of man is threescore years and ten,
Or, if that he be strong, perhaps fourscore ;
Yet all things are but labour to him then,
New sorrows still come on, pleasures no more.
Why should there be such turmoil and such strife,
To spin in length this feeble line of life?
But who considers duly of thine ire ?
Or doth the thoughts thereof wisely embrace?
For thou, O God, art a consuming fire:
Frail man, how can he stand before thy face?
If thy displeasure thou dost not refrain,
A moment brings all back to dust again.
Teach us, O Lord, to number well our days,
Thereby our hearts to wisdom to apply ;
For that which guides man best in all his ways,
Is meditation of mortality.
This bubble light, this vapour of our breath,
Teach us to consecrate to hour of death.
Return unto us, Lord, and balance now,
With days of joy, our days of misery;
Help us right soon, our knees to thee we bow,
Depending wholly on thy clemency ;
Then shall thy servants both with heart and voice,
All the days of their life in thee rejoice.
Begin thy work, O Lord, in this our age,
Shew it unto thy servants that now live;
But to our children raise it many a stage,
That all the world to thee may glory give.
Our handy-work likewise, as fruitful tree,
Let it, O Lord, blessed, not blasted be.
The TRANSLATION of the CIVth PSALM.
FATHER and King of pow'rs, both high and low,
Whose sounding fame all creatures serve to blow;
My soul shall with the rest strike up thy praise,
And carol of thy works and wondrous ways.
But who can blaze thy beauties, Lord, aright?
They turn the brittle beams of mortal sight.
Upon thy head thou wear'st a glorious crown,
All set with virtues polish'd with renown:
Thence round about a silver veil doth fall
Of crystal light, mother of colours all.
The compass heav'n, smooth without grain, or fold,
All set with spangs of glitt'ring stars untold,
And strip'd with golden beams of power unpent,
Is raised up for a removing tent.
Vaulted and arched are his chamber beams
Upon the seas, the waters, and the streams :
The clouds as chariots swift do scour the sky;
The stormy winds upon their wings do fly.
His angels spirits are, that wait his will,
As flames of fire his anger they fulfil.
In the beginning, with a mighty hand,
He made the earth by counterpoise to stand,
Never to move, but to be fixed still;
Yet hath no pillars but his sacred will.
This earth, as with a veil, once cover'd was,
The waters over-flowed all the mass :
But upon his rebuke away they fled, ,
And then the hills began to shew their head;
The vales their hollow bosoms open'd plain,
The streams ran trembling down the vales again :
And that the earth no more might drowned be,
He set the sea his bounds of liberty ;
And though his waves resound, and beat the shore,
Yet it is bridled by his holy lore.
Then did the rivers seek their proper places,
And found their heads, their issues, and their races;
The springs do feed the rivers all the way,
And so the tribute to the sea repay:
Running along through many a pleasant field,
Much fruitfulness unto the earth they yield :
That know the beasts and cattle feeding by,
Which for to slake their thirst do thither hie.
Nay desert grounds the streams do not forsake,
But through the unknown ways their journey take:
The asses wild, that hide in wilderness,
Do thither come, their thirst for to refresh.
The shady trees along their banks do spring,
In which the birds do build, and sit, and sing ;
Stroking the gentle air with pleasant notes,
Plaining, or chirping through their warbling throats.
The higher grounds, where waters cannot rise,
By rain and dews are water'd from the skies;
Causing the earth put forth the grass for beasts,
And garden herbs, serv'd at the greatest feasts;
And bread, that is all viands firmament,
And gives a firm and solid nourishment;
And wine, man's spirits for to recreate;
And oil, his face for to exhilarate.
The sappy cedars, tall like stately tow'rs,
High-flying birds do harbour in their bow'rs:
The holy storks, that are the travellers,
Choose for to dwell and build within the firs;
The climbing goats hang on steep mountains side;
The digging conies in the rocks do bide.
The moon, so constant in inconstancy,
Doth rule the monthly seasons orderly ;
The sun, eye of the world, doth know his race,
And when to shew, and when to hide his face.
Thou makest darkness, that it may be night,
When as the savage beasts, that fly the light,
As conscious of man's hatred, leave their den,
And range abroad, secur'd from sight of men.
Then do the forests ring of lions roaring,
That ask their meat of God, their strength restoring;
But when the day appears, they back do fly,
And in their dens again do lurking lie.