1 I will of my ways be heedful,
that I sin not with my tongue;
for my mouth a curb is needful,
while the wicked round me throng.
2 Thus I said, and dumb remained;
from my lips no sound was heard;
from good words I even refrained,
but my inmost soul was stirred.
3 Long my heart was in me burning,
ere the smothered flame out-brake,
and, the enkindled words returning,
thus impatiently I spake:
4 Teach me, Lord, the number meting
of my days, how brief it is;
make me see and know how fleeting,
vain and sad a life is this.
5 Life a span is at the longest;
mine is nothing, Lord, to thee;
in his best estate and strongest
man is only vanity.
6 Yea, he fleeting past us goeth
in a shadow brief and vain,
heaping riches; but none knoweth
who shall gather them again.
7 And where, Lord, is my reliance?
All my hope is fixed on thee.
From my sin, and the defiance
of the foolish, save thou me!
8 I, because it was thy pleasure,
murmured not, nor silence broke;
yet remove thy plague: o'er measure
grievous is thy heavy stroke.
9 When for sin or slighted duty
man corrected is by thee,
but a moth-worn robe his beauty,
and but vanity is he.
10 See my tears, regard my danger;
be not deaf unto my prayer;
for a sojourner and stranger
am I, as my fathers were.
11 Spare me, yet a little spare me,
to recover strength, before
thy dread summons hence shall bear me
to be seen on earth no more!
Johann Crüger (PHH 42) composed HERR, ICH HABE MISGEHANDELT for a hymn text of the same name by Johann Franck and then published the two together in his Geistliche Kirchen-Melodien (1649), a collection of psalms and hymns set for four voices, two instruments, and continuo. The tune has appeared in…