Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PSALM 39. DIXI CUSTODIAM, by OLD TESTAMENT BIBLE

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PSALM 39. DIXI CUSTODIAM, by            
First Line: Thus did I think: I well will mark my way
Last Line: Ere I my earthly being leave.

Thus did I think: I well will mark my way,
Lest by my tongue I hap to stray;
I mussle will my mouth while in the sight
I do abide of wicked wight.
And so I nothing said, I mute stood,
I silence kept, ev'n in the good.
But still the more that I did hold my peace,
The more my sorrow did increase,
The more me thought my heart was hot in me;
And as I mused such world to see,
The fire took fire and forcibly out brake;
My tongue would needs and thus I spake:
Lord, unto me my time's just measure give,
Show me how long I have to live.
Lo, Thou a span's length madest my living line;
A span? nay nothing in Thine eyen.
What do we seek? the greatest state I see
At best is merely vanity.
They are but shades, not true things where we live;
Vain shades and vain, in vain to grieve.
Look but on this: man still doth riches heap
And knows not who the fruit shall reap.
This being thus, for what, O Lord, wait I?
I wait on Thee with hopeful eye.
O help, O help me; this far yet I crave,
From my transgressions me to save.
Let me not be thrown down to so base shame
That fools of me may make their game.
But I do hush, why do I say thus much,
Since it is Thou that makest one such?
Ah! yet from me let Thy plagues be displaced,
For with Thy handy strokes I waste.
I know that man's foul sin doth cause Thy wrath.
For when his sin Thy scourging hath,
Thou moth-like mak'st his beauty fading be;
So what is man but vanity?
Hear, Lord, my suits and cries, stop not Thine ears
At these my words all clothed in tears;
For I with Thee on earth a stranger am
But baiting, as my fathers came;
Stay then Thy wrath, that I may strength receive
Ere I my earthly being leave.

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