1 I said, "I will look to my ways,
for fear I should go wrong;
I will take heed all times that I
offend not with my tongue:
2 "As with a bit I will keep fast
my mouth with force and might,
Not once to whisper all the while
the wicked are in sight."
3 I held my tongue, and spake no word,
but kept me close and still;
Yea, from good talk I did refrain,
but sore against my will.
4 My heart grew hot within my breast
with musing, thought and doubt,
Which did increase and stir the fire,
at last these words burst out:
5 Lord, number out my life and days,
which yet I have not past;
So that I may be certified
how long my life shall last.
6 For thou hast pointed out my life,
in length much like a span:
My age is nothing unto thee;
so vain is every man!
7 Man walketh like a shade, and doth
in vain himself employ,
In getting goods, and cannot tell
who shall the same enjoy.
8 Therefore, O Lord, what wait I for?
What help do I desire?
Truly my hope is e'en in thee,
I nothing else require.
The Second Part
9 From all the sins that I have done,
Lord, quit me out of hand,
And make me not a scorn to fools,
that nothing understand.
10 I was so dumb, that to complain
no trouble could me move,
Because I knew it was thy work
my patience for to prove.
11 Lord, take from me thy scourge and plague,
I cannot them withstand,
I faint and pine away for fear
of thy most heavy hand.
12 When thou for sin dost man rebuke,
he waxeth pale and wan,
As doth a cloth that moths have fret;
so vain a thing is man!
13 Lord, hear my suit, and give good heed,
regard my tears that fall;
I sojourn like a stranger here,
as did my fathers all.
14 O spare a little, give me space
my strength for to restore,
Before I go away from hence,
and shall be seen no more.