1 Strict silence keep not, sov'reign Lord--behold;
How impious men in horrid guilt are bold;
2 What fraudful snares against my soul they scheme,
In what calumnious terms they blast my name,
3 'Gainst me in causeless hatred they engage,
And ask my life the victim of their rage:
4 My proffer'd love, my friendship they oppose,
And, 'cause I'd be their friend, become my foes
Their hearts such vile ingratitude has sway'd,
With base returns my favours they repay'd.
Howe'er in pray'r to thee I solace find,
To thee who know'st each secret of my mind,
6 But give o'er him some cruel prince command.
Let some dire demon at his elbow stand;
7 If 'fore the dread tribunal he appear,
Trembling, let him th' impartial sentence hear;
The mercy of his judge may he intreat
In vain, and may his pray'r but irritate
8 Few be his days, and sudden may he bleed,
And let a stranger to his home succeed;
9 May his 'lorn widow and his orphan-race
Be vagabonds, and roam from place to place,
10 Beg for their bread, yet not receive relief,
Nor one kind friend commiserate their grief;
11 While base extortioners his goods possess,
And heirs unknown on all his treasures seize.
12 May he and may his children plead in vain
For mercy, and may all their suit disdain;
13 Nay; let his progeny be all destroy'd,
Sunk be his name, and his memorial void.
14 Remember, Lord, th' offences of his fire,
And let his mother's guilt increase thine ire;
15 Their ev'ry crime thy piercing eyes explore,
Till earth shall hear their cursed names no more.
16 For he the needy never wou'd relieve,
Nor to th' afflicted kind assistance give;
From their petitions turn'd his face away,
And call'd it joy the guileless soul to slay.
17 As cursing was his dear, his sole delight,
On his own head his imprecations light;
As never from his tongue a blessing fell,
Let none e'er give him joy, or wish him well.
18 As he his soul with curses has array'd,
May they, like oil, his very bones pervade,
Into his bowels, swift as waters, stream,
And the whole man with deadly pangs enflame;
19 Their dire effects O may he ever feel,
Nor have it in his pow'r their wounds to heal.
20 Be this, just God, their lot, that harass me,
And vex my soul with cruel calumny.
21 But me, great God, thy goodness still defend,
And for thy mercy's sake be still my friend;
22 For poor I am; in sore diftrefs I lie;
Deep am I wounded; heavily I sigh:
23 Like a mere shadow on a summer's day,
Weak and infirm, my substance wears away;
Tost to and fro, in devious paths I rove,
Like locusts ranging o'er the leafy grove.
24 My feeble limbs their wonted aid refuse,
And all my beauty, all my strength, I lose:
25 My foes with proud disdain my peace invade,
And, scornful, shake at my distress the head.
26 But save me, Lord, and let thy servant live;
O let thy mercy plead; sweet solace give;
27 That all may know, thy hand defends my cause,
My soul her solace from thy goodness draws:
28 With bitter imprecations while they foam,
On me the blessings of thy mercy come;
While dire confusion all their peace destroy,
O fill my faithful heart with solid joy.
29 Let them who load with calumnies my fame,
Be with dishonour cloath'd, and lost in shame.
30 Then to my God my grateful voice I'll raise,
And in the throng'd assemblies hymn thy praise;
31 Sing, how the poor are objects of thy love,
How thou their strength, their great support, wilt prove;
How thou reliev'st them in their dire distress,
And shield'st their pious souls, when foes oppress.