1. I did resolve to guard my ways,
And lest my tongue grow loose and vain,
To put the bridle to my mouth
Whene'er I mixed with the profane.
2. Profoundly silent, for awhile,
I heard their talk, and held my peace,
Nor uttered my devouter rhoughts;
But this did inward pain increase.
3. My heart, with indignation, glowed;
And, while I mused, the mighty force
Of zeal, which burned within my breast,
Broke forth in this divine discourse.
4. Teach me, O Lord, to know mine end,
And what's the measure of my days,
How they will issue; may I see
How swift my fleeting time decays.
5. Behold thou mad'st my days a span,
My greatest age is naught with thee;
Sure every man, at his best state,
Is altogether vanity.
6. Man, like an empty shadow, stalks;
Lo! with what noise, and toil, and cares,
He heaps up wealth, but all in vain:
He knows not who shall be his heirs.
7. What then, O Lord, can I expect,
From such a fading world as this;
My hopes are placed on thee alone,
The source, and center, of my bliss.
8. From all my guilt, and punishment,
In mercy, Lord, my soul redeem;
And make me not the scorn of fools,
Who me reproach, and thee blaspheme.
9. But, Lord, because 'tis thou corrects,
I would be dumb, and not complain;
10. Yet, lest thine hand consume me quite,
Thy heavy strokes from me restrain.
11. For if thou speak'st an angry word,
Whenever man offendeth thee,
His beauty blasts, as eat by moths,
Sure every man is vanity.
12. O hear my prayer, attend my cry,
With pity Lord my tears behold;
I, as a stranger sojourn here,
As all my fathers did of old.
13. O spare me, Lord, in mercy spare,
My wasted strength to me restore;
E'er by thy final summons called,
I hence shall go, and be no more.
John Barnard, born in Boston, Nov. 6, 1681; in 1752 made a version of psalms with the music; settled at Marblehead; introduced new music ther; died Jan 14, 1770, aged 89.
A Dictionary of Musical Information by John W. Moore, Boston: Oliver, Ditson & Company, 1876
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