Psalm 39 - Part One.
Watchfulness over the tongue.
1 Thus I resolv'd before the Lord,
"Now will I watch my tongue,
"Lest I let slip one sinful word,
"Or do my neighbour wrong."
2 And if I'm e'er constrain'd to stay
With men of lives profane
I'll set a double guard that day,
Nor let my talk be vain.
3 I'll scarce allow my lips to speak
The pious thoughts I feel,
Lest scoffers should th' occasion take
To mock my holy zeal.
4 Yet if some proper hour appear,
I'll not be overaw'd,
But let the scoffing sinners hear
That I can speak for God.
Psalm 39 - Part Two.
Verses 4-7. The vanity of man as mortal.
1 Teach me the measure of my days,
Thou maker of my frame;
I would survey life's narrow space,
And learn' how frail I am.
2 A span is all that we can boast,
An inch or two of time;
Man is but vanity and dust
In all his flower and prime.
3 See the vain race of mortals move
Like shadows o'er the plain;
They rage and strive, desire and love,
But all the noise is vain.
4 Some walk in honour's gaudy show,
Some dig for golden ore,
They toil for heirs, they know not who,
And straight are seen no more.
5 What should I wish or wait for then
From creatures, earth and dust?
They make our expectations vain,
And disappoint our trust.
6 Now I forbid my carnal hope,
My fond desires recall;
I give my mortal interest up,
And make my God my all.
Psalm 39. Part Three.
1 God of my life, look gently down,
Behold the pains I feel;
But I am dumb before thy throne,
Nor dare dispute thy will.
2 Diseases are thy servants, Lord,
They come at thy command;
I'll not attempt a murmuring word
Against thy chastening hand.
3 Yet I may plead with humble cries,
Remove thy sharp rebukes;
My strength consumes, my spirit dies
Thro' thy repeated strokes.
4 Crush'd as a moth beneath thy hand,
We moulder to the dust;
Our feeble powers can ne'er withstand,
And all our beauty's lost.
5 [This mortal life decays apace,
How soon the bubble's broke!
Adam and all his numerous race
Are vanity and smoke.]
6 I'm but a sojourner below,
As all my fathers were,
May I be well prepar'd to go
When I the summons hear.
7 But if my life be spar'd awhile,
Before my last remove,
Thy praise shall be my business still,
And I'll declare thy love.