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1 'Fore thee, O gracious God, I stand confest;
Thou view'st the inmost secrets of my breast;
2 Whate'er my heart conceives, my hands have done,
Howe'er from man conceal'd, to thee is known:
3 My night's repose, the travail of my days,
Thy wisdom searches, and thy eye surveys:
4 Nor from my tongue drops one unheeded word,
But strait thou hear'st it, O omniscient Lord:
5 Whate'er I am, my frame, behind, before,
Is all the bright exertion of thy pow'r.
6 Such knowledge far transcends the narrow bounds
Of human lore, and all our pride confounds.
7 O how shall I thy awful presence shun?
To what dark corner from thy spirit run?
8 If I ascend to yon celestial sphere,
Lo! thou in dreadful majesty art there:
To hell's drear shade if I direct my road,
E'en there I find the omnipresent God.
9 Me with her roseate car if morn supply,
And to the limits of the west I fly;
10 'Tis vain; still in thy presence I shall stand,
Expos'd to all the thunder of thy hand.
11 Say, shall I hide me in the gloomy night?
Alas! thy presence makes the darkness light;
Thy presence drives the darkness far away;
With thee there's no alternate night and day.
13 Thou form'st the close recesses of the mind,
And in those close recesses thee I find:
When a rude embryo in the womb I lay,
Thou gav'st a cov'ring to my growing clay.
14 The perfect model of my frame displays
Thy wond'rous wisdom, and extorts my praise;
My mind runs o'er thy works with awe unfeign'd,
And owns the pow'r she cannot comprehend:
15 Owns, when at first in secret I was made,
Thine eye the gloomy dwelling did pervade;
To forming nature was the certain guide,
And o'er the curious texture did preside.
16 Thou knew'st me, Lord, while yet my limbs were nought,
For in thy book my formless limbs were wrote;
And, 'fore they were, thy wonder-working mind
Their various pow'rs, their stated hours, design'd.
17 This when my soul revolves, in wild amaze
She's lost, and can but offer up her praife;
And vainly she attempts to number o'er
The dread stupendous wonders of thy pow'r:
18 For with much greater ease I'd count the sand
Which cast the flowing tides upon the strand,
E'en tho' I mould eternal vigils keep,
And ne'er indulge my eyes in balmy sleep.
19 O when wilt thou the impious race destroy,
Whose thirst is blood, and homicide their joy;
20 Who with their villain-tongues thy works blaspheme,
And, wanton in their guilt, profane thy name?
21 Say, are not they the objects of my hate,
Who dare thy sacred statutes violate?
Count I not them among my enemies,
Who thee blaspheme, and thy dread pow'r despise?
22 Yes; sure I hate them, nor my friends shall be
The impious crouds, who dare dishonour thee?
23 O search, all-clement God, my honest mind;
Thou'lt still thy love my ruling passion find:
24 If with the wicked I thy laws contemn,
Consign me to eternal woes with them;
If with the righteous I thy laws obey,
Guide me with them to everlafting day.