1 When impious men in wordly splendor live,
And all the good possess that earth can give,
Scorn thou to murmur at their empty joy,
Nor envy what a moment may destroy.
2 For soon their boasted riches melt away,
False are their pleasures, and their hopes decay;
Like the green grass, whose bloom attracts our eyes;
Cut by the cruel scythe, it's verdure dies.
3 No; rather thou upon thy God depend;
Him by a course of virtue make thy friend;
So thou the bounties of his earth shalt share,
And feel the blessings of a father's care.
4 With love of him thy fervent soul inspire,
And he shall fill thee with thy heart's desire,
5 To him thy fortunes and thy life commit;
Soon shalt thou find the glorious benefit;
6 Bright as the sun he'll make thy merit shine,
And on thy virtues beam a light divine.
7 Rest then on him, and with due patience wait,
Nor at the joyous hours of sinners fret;
8 Thine anger bridle, and thy wrath restrain;
O'er all thy passions hold a steady rein:
9 Soon droop the wicked; suddenly they die,
While righteous souls substantial good enjoy.
10 Stay but awhile; the wicked is no more;
In vain his habitation thou'lt explore;
A desart now, his palace, late so fair;
Without a name he dies, without an heir.
11 Not so the meek the earth shall long be theirs,
And when they die, they leave it to their heirs.
12 T' ensnare the good, is all the villain's joy,
Pleas'd, if he guiltless merit can destroy:
13 But heav'n, who knows, how short-liv'd is his pride,
Does all his wily cruelty deride.
14 T' assail the poor, the wicked draws his sword;
The poor, the happy fav'rites of the Lord;
He bends his bow, the innocent to slay,
T' extirpate those, who heav'n's high will obey.
15 In vain--in his own bowels sheath'd his sword,
Defends his favour'd poor th' almighty Lord;
Broke is his bow; his arrows fruitless fly,
While on their God, insur'd, the good rely.
18 Yes; long they flourish, and, tho' little's theirs,
That little they enjoy, devoid of fears;
That little furnishes sincerer bliss,
Than all that prosp'rous sinners can possess.
17 For, while the pow'r of impious sinners fail,
Supported by their God, the good prevail;
18 Their God, that promises a length of days,
To spend in health, in happiness, in peace;
That promises a num'rous progeny,
To leave their substance to, whene'er they die:
19 Their God, that, when diseases rage around,
Their great protector from th' infection's found;
That, when the trumpet sounds the dread alarm;
Preserves them by his providence from harm.
20 But not the wicked thus receive his aid;
In times like these, his vengeance strikes them dead;
Like fat of victims that expires in fume,
Shall they in his tremendous wrath consume.
21 The wicked borrows, tho' he never pays,
Not so the just; the fainting soul he'll ease;
To painful poverty assistance gives,
And all the anguish of their hearts relieves.
22 Therefore his friends, 'cause he so freely gave,
Their substance to his progeny shall leave;
While rot the wicked with the curse of all,
And his whole crimes upon his off-spring fall.
23 For God the good man loves, and guides his steps,
24 And with his hand supports him, if he slips.
25 Young have I been, and now, tho' grown in years,
Still my hoar age my mem'ry not impairs;
And ne'er knew I the good man wanting aid
And ne'er heard I his children beg their bread.
26 For, as he ever gave, and ever lent,
Heav'n on his race continual blessings sent.
27 Be virtue then thy aim, base folly run,
And thou a constant course of bliss shalt run:
28 For love and equity the Godhead loves,
And ne'er forsakes the virtues he approves:
The good are still preserv'd in happy peace,
While fail the wicked, and extinct their race.
29 Yes; large possessions to the righteous fall,
And to his children he preserves them all;
30 For why; his mouth with heav'nly wisdom glows,
With truth, with justice, ev'ry period flows;
31 The law of God is written on his heart;
He from it's sacred dictates scorns to part;
32 And tho' the wicked waits in ambuscade,
His life t' ensnare, his property t' invade,
33 Yet still th' almighty Lord will be his friend,
Will 'fore the judge his guiltless soul defend.
34 Wait then upon thy God; obey his laws,
And he for ever will support thy cause;
The Land he'll give thee ever to possess,
While soon the foes to truth, to virtue, cease.
35 As lifts the laurel high it's lofty head;
As with gay pride it's verdant branches spread;
The wicked thus I've seen exalted high;
Have heard him boast his pow'r, his God defy.
36 But soon his empty glories past away,
The vain, the idle pageant of a day;
Again to view him, oft I look'd around,
And not a trace of all his pride I found.
37 But mark the righteous in his constant race,
You'll find him live a good old age in peace.
38 While vile transgressors shall be soon destroy'd,
And all their base and impious schemes are void;
39 The righteous fix their safety in the Lord,
And he'll to them his certain aid afford:
40 To him when they apply, 'twill not be vain;
Them in their varied cares he'll long sustain;
From toils of artful men he'll keep them free,
And, 'cause they trust in him, their strength he'll be.