I. When I resolv'd to watch my thoughts,
To watch my words and all my ways,
Lest I should with unwary faults
Offend the God my life should praise;
II. In mournful silence long restrain'd,
My thoughts were press'd with secret grief;
My heart with sad reflection pain'd,
In silence sound no kind relief.
III. While thus the inward anguish burn'd,
My straiten'd speech at length found way;
My tongue in broken accents mourn'd
Before my God, and try'd to pray.
IV. Almighty Maker of my frame,
Teach me the measure of my days,
Teach me to know how frail I am,
And spend the remnant to thy praise.
V. My days are shorter than a span,
A little point my life appears;
How frail at best is dying man!
How vain are all his hopes and fears!
VI. Vain his ambition, noise and show!
Vain are the cares which rack his mind!
He heaps up treasures mix'd with woe;
And dies, and leaves them all behind.
VII. O be a nobler portion mine:
My God, I bow before thy throne,
Earth's fleeting treasures I resign,
And fix my hope on thee alone.
VIII. Save me, by thy almighty arm,
From all my sins, and cleanse my faults;
Then guilt nor folly shall alarm
My soul, or vex my peaceful thoughts.
IX. Beneath the chast'ning of thy hand,
Let not my heart or tongue repine;
But silent and submissive bend,
And bear the stroke because 'tis thine.
X. But O let mercy soon prevail,
Thy awful anger to remove;
The stroke is just, but I am frail,
Thy sparing goodness let me prove.
XI. Frail man, how soon his beauty flies!
He sins, and God afflicts with pain;
Crush'd like the feeble moth he dies;
His strength, how impotent and vain!
XII. Lord, wilt thou gracious hear my cry,
Pity my tears and heal my woe?
As were my fathers, so am I,
A wretched stranger here below.
XIII. O spare me, and my strength restore,
E'er my few hasty minutes flee;
And when my days on earth are o'er,
Let me for ever dwell with thee.
Source: Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional, Vol. 2 #168