1 O Lord, the Saviour and Defence
of us thy chosen Race,
From Age to Age Thou still hast been
our sure abiding Place.
2 Before Thou brought'st the Mountains forth,
or th' Earth and World didst frame,
Thou always wert the mighty God,
and ever art the same.
3 Thou turnest Man, O Lord, to Dust,
of which he first was made;
And when Thou speak'st the Word, Return,
'tis instantly obey'd.
4 For in thy Sight a thousand Years
are like a Day that's past,
Or like a Watch in Dead of Night,
whose Hours unminded waste.
5 Thou sweep'st us off as with a Flood,
we vanish hence like Dreams;
At first we grow like Grass that feels
the Sun's reviving Beams:
6 But howsoever fresh and fair
its Morning Beauty shows;
'Tis all cut down and wither'd quite
before the Evening close.
7,8 We by thine Anger are consum'd,
and by thy Wrath dismay'd;
Our publick Crimes and secret Sins
before thy Sight are laid.
9 Beneath thy Anger's sad Effects
our drooping Days we spend;
Our unregarded Years break off,
like Tales that quickly end.
10 Our Term of Time is seventy Years,
an Age that few survive;
But if, with more than common Strength,
to eighty we arrive;
Yet then our boasted Strength decays,
to Sorrow turn'd and Pain;
So soon the slender Thread is cut,
and we no more remain.
11 But who thy Anger's dread Effects
does, as he ought, revere?
And yet thy Wrath does fall or rise,
as more or less we fear.
12 So teach us, Lord, th' uncertain Sum
of our short Days to mind,
That to true Wisdom all our Hearts
may ever be inclin'd.
13 O to thy Servants, Lord, return,
and speedily relent!
As we of our Misdeeds, do Thou
of our just Doom repent.
14 To satisfy and chear our Souls,
thy early Mercy send;
That we may all our Days to come,
in Joy and Comfort spend.
15 Let happy Times with large Amends
dry up our former Tears,
Or equal at the least the Term
of our afflicted Years.
16 To all thy Servants, Lord, let this
thy wond'rous Work be known,
And to our Offspring yet unborn,
thy glorious Pow'r be shown.
17 Let thy bright Rays upon us shine,
give Thou our Work Success;
The glorious Work we have in Hand
do Thou vouchsafe to bless.