O Lord, my praying hear;
Lord, let my cry come to thine ear.
Hide not thy face away,
But haste, and answer me,
In this my most, most miserable day,
Wherein I pray and cry to thee.
My days as smoke are past;
My bones as flaming fuel waste,
Mown down in me, alas.
With scythe of sharpest pain.
My heart is withered like the wounded grass;
My stomach doth all food disdain.
So lean my woes me leave,
That to my flesh my bones do cleave;
And so I bray and howl,
As use to howl and bray
The lonely pelican and desert owl,
Like whom I languish long the day.
I languish so the day,
The night in watch I waste away;
Right as the sparrow sits,
Bereft of spouse, or son,
Which irked alone with dolor’s deadly fits
To company will not be won.
As day to day succeeds,
So shame on shame to me proceeds
From them that do me hate,
Who of my wrack so boast,
That wishing ill, they wish but my estate,
Yet think they wish of ills the most.
Therefore my bread is clay;
Therefore my tears my wine allay.
For how else should it be,
Sith thou still angry art,
And seem’st for naught to have advanced me,
But me advanced to subvert?
The sun of my life-days
Inclines to west with falling rays,
And I as hay am dried,
While yet in steadfast seat
Eternal thou eternally dost bide,
Thy memory no years can fret.
Oh, then at length arise;
On Zion cast thy mercy’s eyes.
Now is the time that thou
To mercy shouldst incline
Concerning her: O Lord, the time is now
Thyself for mercy didst assign.
Thy servants wait the day
When she, who like a carcass lay
Stretched forth in ruin’s bier,
Shall so arise and live,
The nations all Jehova’s name shall fear,
All kings to thee shall glory give.
Because thou hast anew
Made Zion stand, restored to view
Thy glorious presence there,
Because thou hast, I say,
Beheld our woes and not refused to hear
What wretched we did plaining pray,
This of record shall bide
To this and every age beside.
And they commend thee shall
Whom thou anew shall make,
That from the prospect of thy heav’nly hall
Thy eye of earth survey did take,
Heark’ning to prisoners’ groans,
And setting free condemned ones,
That they, when nations come,
And realms to serve the Lord,
In Zion and in Salem might become
Fit means his honor to record.
But what is this if I
In the mid way should fall and die?
My God, to thee I pray,
Who canst my prayer give.
Turn not to night the noontide of my day,
Since endless thou dost ageless live.
The earth, the heaven stands
Once founded, formed by thy hands:
They perish, thou shalt bide;
They old, as clothes shall wear,
Till changing still, full change shall them betide,
Unclothed of all the clothes they bear.
But thou art one, still one:
Time interest in thee hath none.
Then hope, who godly be,
Or come of godly race:
Endless your bliss, as never ending he,
His presence your unchanged place.