1 The glorious subject of my tuneful song
Be thou, O God—--to thee my strains belong.
While lasts the sun, while times to times succeed,
Thy goodness in my numbers shall be read.
2 For sure the orbs in yon etherial plain
To their primoeval nought return again,
Ere thou the wonders of thy mercy cease,
Or 'gainst thy sacred covenant transgress.
3 Thy sacred covenant with David made,
4 That, while yon lights the fields of air pervade,
While stands this solid earth upon her base,
While knows old ocean his appointed space,
His progeny shall sit upon the throne,
And Israel's faithful tribes their rule shall own.
5 Thee, great Jehovah, thee the heav'nly host
Adore, and make thy mighty works their boast;
Thy truth the righteous make their constant theme,
Sing all thy mercies, and extol thy name.
6 With thee compar'd, O Lord, how meanly shew
The thrones above, the sceptred kings below?
7 Th' etherial myriads tremble at thy nod;
Fear earth's imperious lords th' Almighty God,
8 Dread God of battles, who is like to thee?
Who mates thy pow'r, thy truth, thy majesty?
9 Thou rein'st the fury of the swelling main,
And dost the madness of her waves restrain;
10 Th' Egyptian tyrant felt thy vengeful hand;
Feel all, who dare thy sov'reign rule withstand:
Thine are the bright celestial worlds above--
Thine is the earth--by thy command they move;
Earth's varied blessings to thy love we owe;
From thee, Creator-Lord, from thee they flow.
12 Thee the rude north, and rainy south, obey,
And where the sun begins, where ends the day,
Blest Tabor seated in the glowing west,
Bright Herman, gladden'd by the beamy east,
13 Strong is thy arm, resistless is thy hand;
14 Nigh to thy throne bright truth, stern juftice, stand;
Full in thy view sweet clemency appears,
Blest attribute! that calms our pious fears.
15 Thrice happy they, that hear thy gracious call,
Flock to thy fane, and 'fore thy altar fall!
On them with kindliest ray thy light shall shine;
16 Daily they feel the joys of love divine;
Rais'd by thy goodness to the highest bliss,
17 Pow'r, empire, glory, shall they long possess;
18 Their strong support, their mighty leader thou,
They gain a glorious conquest o'er the foe.
19 His sacred prophet hear, ye sons of men;
By him th' Almighty speaks, nor speaks in vain:
"David, my servant, from his low estate,
"I've rais'd, and plac'd him on the royal seat;
"With kingly majefty I've him array'd,
"And sprinkled with my sacred oils his head.
20 "To him I'll strength and nervous force impart,
"And with firm courage fortify his heart;
22 "Brave, he shall scorn the foe's proud menaces,
"Nor villain-schemes shall have 'gainst him success:
24 "True to my word, assistance I'll supply,
"And 'bove the clouds will raise his glory high.
25 "E'en from the sea the nations he shall sway,
"To where Euphrates rolls his rapid way:
26 "Me his support, his father he shall call,
"To me, as to his God, shall prostrate fall:
27 "Him with peculiar honour I will grace,
"As loves the sire the first-born of his race;
"'Bove other potentates I'll raise his name,
"And set him foremost in the lifts of fame.
28 "Nor to the present is my love confin'd,
"Nor to himself alone the sanctions bind;
29 "I'll to his progeny the throne secure,
"And, long as beams the sun, shall last their pow'r;
30 "But, if his children from my statutes stray,
31 "Spurn at my laws, and not my will obey,
32 "Soon for the vile transgression they shall smart,
"And soon I'll punish their rebellious heart.
33 "Yet shan't my mercy my own David leave;
"My covenant I made not, to deceive;
34 "Faithful and firm, I'll to my word remain;
"What once I've said, shall man oppose in vain.
35 "And by my holy self to him I swore,
(And ne'er shall he my broken oath deplore)
36 "Till dies the world, till time no more runs on,
"His blest posterity shall fill the throne;
37 "To this be witness, all ye lights above;
"When fails his race, no more your orbits move."
38 Thy gracious promise this--but now, alas!
From thy anointed thou hast hid thy face;
39 Thy covenant forgot, and now cast down,
For hostile feet to trample on, his crown.
40 His cities thou'st laid open to the foe;
Their walls dismantled, and their tow'rs brought low.
41 We're fall'n a prey to all the nations round;
With their insulting taunts our souls they wound;
42 Supported by thy hand, victorious they
Highly exult, and with success are gay.
43 Edgeless our swords, we vainly dare the field,
Are soon defeated, and with shame we yield;
44 Our pride, our glory, in the dust are laid,
And dreadful dreary darkness shades our head;
45 In vile dishonour, in distress we lie,
Few are our days, and immature we die.
46 How long, O Lord, will last thy dreadful ire?
Shall burn thy fury like consuming fire?
47 Remember, Lord; how short the life of man;
Surely thou'st not created us in vain!
48 But a few days we breathe the vital air,
And those few days are clouded all with care,
From death's dire call not one his soul can save,
And soon we're mould'ring in the gloomy grave.
49 Where are thy wonted tender mercies flown;
When first thou set'st thy David on a throne?
50 O view the killing scorn, the sore distress,
Wherewith our impious foes thy tribes distress;
Their shocking insults in my breast I bear,
While they their horrid blasphemies declare;
51 With insolent derision while they say,
"He'll come your promis'd king await the day
"Your Christ will come (they cry) the prince of peace,
"And then, belike, your miseries will cease!"
52 But let them sneer to their confusion, they
Shall feel his terrors at th' appointed day;
Our Christ will come thy judgments he'll proclaim,
And all the earth shall tremble at thy name.
Source: New Version of the Psalms of David #LXXXIX