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Psalms of David


beatus vir.

He blessed is who neither loosely treads
The straying stepps as wicked counsaile leades;
Ne for badd mates in waie of sinning wayteth,
Nor yet himself with idle scorners seateth;
But on God’s lawe his harte’s delight doth binde,
Which, night and daie, he calls to marking minde.

He shall be lyke a freshly planted tree,
To which sweet springs of waters neighbours be;
Whose braunches faile not timelie fruite to nourish,
Nor with’red leafe shall make it faile to flourish:
So all the things whereto that man doth bend
Shall prosper still with well-succeeding end.

Such blessings shall not wycked wretches see,
But lyke vyle chaffe with wind shal scattred be;
For neither shall the men in sin delighted
Consist, when they to highest doome are cited,
Ne yet shall suff’red be a place to take
Where godly men do their assembly make.

For God doth know, and knowing doth approue,
The trade of them that iust proceedings loue;
But they that sinne in sinnfull breast do cherish,
The way they go shalbe their waie to perish.


Quare fremuerunt gentes?

What ayles this heathenish rage? What do theis people meane,
To mutter murmurs vaine?
Why do these earthly kings and lords such meeting make,
And counsel jointly take,
Against the Lord of lords, the Lord of ev’ry thing,
And His anoynted king?
Come, let us break their bonds, say they, – and fondly say, –
And cast their yoakes away.
But He shall them deride who by the Heav’n’s is borne,
He shall laugh them to scorn,
And after speake to them with breath of wrathful fire,
And vex them in His ire;
And say, O Kings, yet have I set My King vpon
My holy hill Syon;
And I will (sayeth his king) the Lord’s decree display,
And say,-that He did say,-
Thou art My Son indeed, this day begott by Me:
Ask, I will giue to Thee
The heathen for Thy child’s-right, and will Thy realme extend
Farr as world’s farthest end.
With iron scepter bruse Thou shalt and peecemeale breake
These men like potshards weake.
Therefore, O kings, be wise; O rulers, rule your mind,
That knowledg you may find.
Serue God, serue Him with feare, rejoyce in Him but so
That joy with trembling go;
With loving homage kisse that only Son He hath,
Least you enflame His wrath,
Whereof if but a sparke once kindled be, you all
From yor way perish shall;
And then they that in Him their only trust do rest,
O, they be rightly blest!


Domine, quid multiplici?

Lord, how do they encrease
That hatefull never cease
To breed my grievous trouble?
How many ones there be,
That all against poor me
Their numbrous strength redouble?

Even multitudes be they
That to my soul do say,
No help for you remaineth
In God, on whom you build.
Yet, Lord, Thou art my shield,
In Thee my glory raigneth.

The Lord lifts vp my head,
To Him my voyce I spread;
From holy hill He heard me:
I layd me down and slept,
While He me safely kept,
And safe from sleep I rear’d me.

I will not be afraid
Though legions round be layd,
Which all against me gather:
I say no more but this,
Vp, Lord, now time it is;
Help me, my God and Father!

For Thou, with cruel blowes
On jaw-bone of my foes,
My causeless wrongs hast wroken;
Thou, those men’s teeth which byte,
Venom’d with godless spight,
Hast in their malice broken.

Salvation doth belong
Unto the Lord most strong;
For He alone defendeth:
And on those blessèd same
Which beare His people’s name,
His blessing He extendeth.


Cum invocarem.

Heare me, O, heare me when I call,
O God, God of my equity!
Thou setd’st me free when I was thrall,
Haue mercy therfore still on me,
And hearken how I pray to Thee.

O men, whose fathers were but men,
Till when will ye My honour high
Staine with your blasphemys; till when
Such pleasure take in vanity,
And only hunt where lyes do ly?

Yet know this too that God did take,
When He chose me, a godly one;
Such one, I say, that when I make
My crying plaints to Him alone,
He will giue good eare to my moane.

O, tremble then with awfull will,
Sinne from all rule in you depose,
Talk with yor heart and yet be still;
And when your chamber you do close
Your selues, yet to your selues disclose.

The sacrifices sacrify
Of just desires, on justice stayd;
Trust in the Lord that cannot ly.
Indeed full many folk haue said,
From whence shall come to us such ayd?

But, Lord, lift thou vpon our sight
The shining clearness of Thy face,
Where I haue found more heart’s delight
Then they whose stoare in harvest space
Of grain and wine fills stoaring-place.

So I in peace and peacefull blisse
Will lay me down and take my rest;
For it is Thou, Lord, Thou it is,
By power of whose owne only brest
I dwell, layd vp in Safetie’s neast.


Verba mea auribus.

Ponder the words, O Lord, that I do say,
Consider what I meditate in me:
O, hearken to my voice, which calls on Thee,
My King, my God, for I to Thee will pray.
So shall my voice clime to Thyne eares betime,
For unto Thee I will my prayer send
With earlyest entry of the morning prime,
And will my waiting eyes to Thee-ward bend.

For Thou art that same God, far from delight
In that which of fowle wickedness doth smel;
No, nor with Thee the naughty ones shall dwel,
Nor glorious fooles stand in Thy awfull sight.
Thou hatest all whose workes in evil are plac’t,
And shalt root out the tongues to lying bent;
For Thou, the Lord, in endless hatred hast
The murd’rous man, and so the fraudulent.

But I my self will to Thy house addresse
With passe-port of Thy graces manyfold;
And in Thy feare, knees of my heart will fold,
Towards the temple of Thy holyness.
Thou Lord, Thou Lord, the saver of Thyne owne,
Guide me, O, in Thy justice be my guide,
And make Thy wayes to me more plainly known,
For all I neede, that with such foes do byde.

For in their mouth not one cleere word is spent,
Their soules’ fowl sinns for inmost lieing haue;
Their throat it is an open swallowing graue,
Wherto their tongue is flattring instrument.
Giue them their due unto their guiltiness,
Let their vile thoughts theire thinkers ruin be:
With heapèd weights of their own sinns, oppresse
These most ungratefull rebells unto Thee.

So shall all they that trust on Thee do bend,
And loue the sweet sound of Thy name, rejoyce;
They ever shall send Thee their praysing voyce,
Since ever Thou to them wilt succour send.
Thy work it is to blesse, Thou blessest them
The just in Thee, on Thee and justice build:
Thy work it is such men safe in to hemm
With kindest care, as with a certain shield.


Domine, ne in furore.

Lord, let not me, a worme, by Thee be shent,
While Thou art in the heat of Thy displeasure;
Ne let Thy rage of my due punishment
Become the measure.

But mercy, Lord, let mercy Thyne descend,
For I am weake, and in my weakness languish:
Lord, help, for even my bones their marrow spend
With cruel anguish.

Nay, ev’n my soul fell troubles do appall:
Alas! how long, my God, wilt Thou delay me?
Turn Thee, sweet Lord, and from this ougly fall,
My deare God, stay me.

Mercy, O mercy, Lord, for mercy’s sake,
For death dos kill the wittness of Thy glory;
Can of Thy prayse the tongues entombèd make
A heavnly story?

Lo, I am tir’d, while still I sigh and groane:
My moystned bed proofes of my sorrow showeth,
My bed, while I with black Night mourn alone,
With my teares floweth.

Woe, lyke a moth, my face’s beauty eates,
And age, pul’d on with paines, all freshness fretteth,
The while a swarm of foes with vexing feates
My life besetteth.

Get hence, you evill, who in my evill rejoyce,
In all whose workes vainess is ever raigning,
For God hath heard the weeping sobbing voice
Of my complaining.

The Lord my suite did heare, and gently heare;
They shall be sham’d and vext that breed my crying,
And turn their backs, and strait on backs appeare
Their shamefull flying.


Domine, Deus meus.

O Lord, my God, Thou art my trustfull stay;
O saue me from this persecution’s showre,
Deliver me in my endangerd way.

Least lion like he do my soule devoure,
And cruely in many peies teare,
While I am voyd of any helping power.

O Lord, my God, if I did not forbeare
Ever from deed of any such desart;
If ought my hands of wyckednes do beare;

If I have been unkynd for friendly part;
Nay, if I wrought not for his freedome’s sake,
Who causeless now yeeldes me a hatefull heart,-

Then let my foe chase me, and chasing take,
Then let his foot vpon my neck be set,
Then in the dust let him my honour rake.

Arise, O Lord, in wrath Thy self vp sett
Against such rage of foes; awake for me
To that high doome which I by Thee must get.

So shall all men with laudes inviron Thee;
Therfore, O Lord, lift vp Thy self on high,
That evry folk Thy wondrous acts may see.

Thou, Lord, the people shalt in judgment try;
Then, Lord, my Lord, giue sentence on my side,
After my clearness and my equity.

O, let their wickedness no longer bide
From coming to theire well-deservèd end;
But still be Thou to just men justest guide.

Thou righteous proofes to hearts and reines dost send,
All, all my help from none but Thee is sent,
Who dost Thy saving-health to true men bend.

Thou righteous art, Thou strong, Thou patient,
Yet each day art provoakt Thyne ire to show:
For this same man will not learn to repent.

Therfore Thou whet’st Thy sword and bend’st Thy bow,
And hast Thy deadly armes in order brought,
And ready art to let Thyne arrowes go.

Lo, he that first conceiv’d a wretched thought,
And great with child of mischeif travaild long,
Now brought a-bed, hath brought nought out but nought.

A pitt was digg’d by this man vainly strong;
But in the pitt he ruind first did fall,
Which fall he made to do his neighbor wrong.

He against me doth throw; but down it shall
Vpon his pate, his pain employèd thus,
And his own evill his own head shall appall.

I will giue thanks unto the Lord of vs,
According to His heavnly equity,
And will to highest name yeild prayses high.


Domine, Dominus noster.

O Lord, that rul’st our mortall lyne,
How through the world Thy name doth shine;
That hast of Thy unmatchèd glory
Vpon the heavns engrav’d Thy story.

From sucklings hath Thy honour sproong,
Thy force hath flow’d from infant’s tongue,
Whereby Thou stop’st Thyne enemy’s prating,
Bent to revenge and ever hating.

When I vpon the heavns do look,
Which all from Thee their essence took;
When moone and starrs my thought beholdeth,
Whose light no light but of Thee holdeth:

Then think I,-ah, what is this man,
Whom that great God remember can?
And what the race of him descended,
It should be ought of God attended.

. For though in lesse than angel’s state
Thou planted hast this earthly mate,
Yet hast Thou made even him an owner
Of glorious croune and crouning honour.

Thou placest him vpon all lands
To rule the works of Thyne own hands;
And so Thou hast all things ordainèd,
That even his feet haue on them raignèd.

Thou under his dominion plac’t
Both sheep and oxen wholy hast,
And all the beasts for ever breeding,
Which in the fertile fields be feeding.

The bird, free burgess of the ayre,
The fish of seas the natiue heire,
And what thing els of waters traceth
The unworn paths, his rule embraceth.
O Lord, that rulest our mortall lyne,
How through the world Thy name doth shine!


Confitebor tibi.

With all my heart, O Lord, I will prayse Thee,
My speeches all Thy mervailes shall descry;
In Thee my joyes and comforts ever be,
Yea, ev’n my songs Thy name shall magnify,
O Lord most high!

Because my foes to fly are now constraind,
And they are faln, nay, perisht at Thy sight;
For Thou my cause, my right Thou hast maintaind,
Setting Thy self in throne, which shinèd bright,
Of judging right.

The Gentiles Thou rebukèd sorely hast,
And wyked folk from Thee to wrack do wend,
And their renoune, which seemd so long to last,
Thou dost put out, and quite consuming send
To endles end.

O bragging foe, where is the endles wast
Of conquerd states, wherby such fame you gott?
What! doth their memory no longer last-
Both ruines, ruiners, and ruin’d plott
Be quite forgott?

But God shall sit in His eternal chaire,
Which He prepar’d to giue His judgments high;
Thither the world for justice shall repare,
Thence He to all His judgments shall apply

Thou, Lord, also th’ oppressèd wilt defend,
That they to Thee in troublous time may flee;
They that know Thee on Thee their trust will bend,
For Thou, Lord, found by them wilt ever be,
That seek to Thee.

O prayse the Lord, this Syon-dweller good,
Shew forth His acts, and this as act most high,
That He, inquiring, doth require just blood,
Which He forgetteth not, nor letteth dy
Th’ afflicted cry.

Haue mercy, mercy, Lord, I once did say;
Ponder the paines which on me loaden be
By them whose minds on hatefull thoughts do stay:
Thou, Lord, that from death gates hast lifted me,
I call to Thee,

That I within the ports most beautyfull
Of Syon’s daughter may sing foorth Thy prayse;
That I, even I, of heavnly comfort full,
May only joy in all Thy saving wayes
Throughout my days.

No sooner said, but lo, myne enemyes sink
Down in the pitt which they themselues had wrought;
And in that nett, which they well hidden think,
Is their own foot, ledd by their own ill thought,
Most surely caught.

For then the Lord in judgment shewes to raigne,
When godless men be snar’d in their own snares;
When wycked soules be turn’d to hellish paine,
And that forgetfull sort which never cares
What God prepares.

But, of the other side, the poore in sprite
Shall not be scrap’d out of heavnly scoare,
Nor meek abiding of the pacient wight
Yet perish shall, although his paine be sore,
For ever more.

Vp, Lord, and judg the Gentyls in Thy right,
And let not man haue vpper hand of Thee:
With terrors great, O Lord, do Thou them fright,
That by sharp proofes, the heathen them selues may se
But men to be.


Ut quid, Domine?

Why standest Thou so farr,
O God, our only starr,
In time most fitt for Thee
To help who vexèd be?
For lo, with pride the wicked man
Still plagues the poore the most he can;
O, let proud him be throughly caught
In craft of his own crafty thought.

For he himself doth prayse
When he his lust doth raise;
Extolling ravenous gain,
But doth God self disdain.
Nay, so proud is his puffèd thought,
That after God he never sought,
But rather much he fancys this,-
The name of God a fable is.

For while his wayes do proue
On them he sets his loue,
Thy judgments are to high,
He cannot them espy.
Therfore he doth defy all those
That dare themselues to him oppose,
And sayeth in his bragging heart,
This gotten blisse shall ne’re depart.

Nor he removed be,
Nor danger ever see;
Yet from his mouth doth spring
Cursing and cosening ;
Vnder his tongue do harbour’d ly
Both mischeif and iniquity.
For proof, oft laine in wait he is,
In secret by-way villages,

In such a place vnknown
To slay the hurtless one:
With winking eyes aye bent
Against the innocent,
Like lurking lion in his denn,
He waites to spoyle the simple men:
Whom to their losse he still dos get,
When once he draw’th his wily nett.

. O, with how simple look
He oft layeth out his hook!
And with how humble showes
To trapp poore soules he goes!
Then freely, saith he in his sprite,
God sleeps, or hath forgotten quite;
His farr off sight now hood winkt is,
He leasure wants to mark all this.

Then rise, and come abroad,
O Lord, our only God;
Lift up Thy heavnly hand,
And by the sylly stand.
Why should the evill so evill despise
The power of Thy through-seeing eyes?
And why should he in heart so hard
Say Thou dost not Thyn own regard?

But naked, before Thine eyes,
All wrong and mischeife lyes,
For of them in Thy hands
The ballance evnly stands.
But who aright poor-minded be,
Commit their cause, themselues to Thee,
The succour of the succourless,
The Father of the fatherlesse.

Breake Thou that wyked arm,
Whose fury bends to harme;
Search him, and wyked he
Will straight-way nothing be.
So, Lord, we shall Thy title sing,
Ever and ever to be King,
Who hast the heath’ney folk destroy’d
From out Thy land, by them anoy’d.

Thou openest heavnly doore
To prayers of the poore;
Thou first preparèdst their mind,
Then eare to them enclin’d:
O, be Thou still the orphan’s aide,
That poore from ruine may be stayd,
Least we should ever feare the lust
Of earthly man, a lord of dust.

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Psalms of David - PHILIP SIDNEY