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THE

TRANSLATION OF CERTAIN PSALMS

INTO ENGLISH VERSE.

BY THE

RIGHT HONOURABLE FRANCIS, LORD VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN.

PRINTED AT LONDON, 1625, IN QUARTO.

TO HIS VERY GOOD FRIEND, MR. GEORGE HERBERT.

The pains that it pleased you to take about some of my writings, I cannot forget; which did put me in mind to dedicate to you this poor exercise of my sickness. Besides, it being my manner for dedications, to choose those that I hold most fit for the argument, I thought, that in respect of divinity and poesy met, whereof the one is the matter, the other the style of this little writing, I could not make better choice: so, with signification of my love and acknowledgment, I ever rest Your affectionate friend,

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Now, for the bitter sighing of the poor,
The Lord hath said, I will no more forbear
The wicked's kingdom to invade and scour,

And set at large the men restrain'd in fear.
And sure the word of God is pure and fine,
And in the trial never loseth weight;
Like noble gold, which, since it left the mine,
Hath seven times pass'd through the fiery strait.

And now thou wilt not first thy word forsake, Nor yet the righteous man that leans thereto; But wilt his safe protection undertake,

In spite of all their force and wiles can do. And time it is, O Lord, thou didst draw nigh; The wicked daily do enlarge their bands; And that which makes them follow ill a vie, Rule is betaken to unworthy hands.

The life of man is threescore years and ten,
Or, if that he be strong, perhaps fourscore;
Yet all things are but labour to him then,
New sorrows still come on, pleasures no more.
Why should there be such turmoil and such
strife,

To spin in length this feeble line of life?

But who considers duly of thine ire?

Or doth the thoughts thereof wisely embrace? For thou, O God, art a consuming fire: Frail man, how can he stand before thy face? If thy displeasure thou dost not refrain, A moment brings all back to dust again.

Teach us, O Lord, to number well our days,
Thereby our hearts to wisdom to apply;
For that which guides man best in all his ways,
Is meditation of mortality.

This bubble light, this vapour of our breath,
Teach us to consecrate to hour of death.

THE TRANSLATION OF THE XCth PSALM. Return unto us, Lord, and balance now,

O LORD, thou art our home, to whom we fly,
And so hast always been, from age to age;
Before the hills did intercept the eye,

Or that the frame was up of earthly stage,
One God thou wert, and art, and still shalt be;
The line of time, it doth not measure thee.

Both death and life obey thy holy lore,

And visit in their turns, as they are sent; A thousand years with thee they are no more Than yesterday, which, ere it is, is spent:

Or as a watch by night, that course doth keep, And goes, and comes, unwares to them that sleep.

Thou carryest man away as with a tide :

With days of joy, our days of misery; Help us right soon; our knees to thee we bow, Depending wholly on thy clemency;

Then shall thy servants, both with heart and

voice,

All the days of their life in thee rejoice.

Begin thy work, O Lord, in this our age,

Show it unto thy servants that now live; But to our children raise it many a stage, That all the world to thee may glory give. Our handy work likewise, as fruitful tree Let it, O Lord, blessed, not blasted be.

Then down swim all his thoughts that mounted THE TRANSLATION OF THE CIVth PSALM.

high;

Much like a mocking dream, that will not bide,

But flies before the sight of waking eye; Or as the grass, that cannot term obtain, To see the summer come about again.

At morning, fair it musters on the ground;
At even it is cut down, and laid along:
And though it spared were, and favour found,
The weather would perform the mower's wrong:
Thus hast thou hang'd our life on brittle pins,
To let us know it will not bear our sins.

Thou buryest not within oblivion's tomb

Our trespasses, but enterest them aright;
Ev'n those that are conceived in darkness' womb,
To thee appear as done at broad daylight.

As a tale told, which sometime men attend,
And sometimes not, our life steals to an end.

FATHER and King of powers, both high and low,
Whose sounding fame all creatures serve to blow;
My soul shall with the rest strike up thy praise,
And carol of thy works and wondrous ways.
But who can blaze thy beauties, Lord, aright?
They turn the brittle beams of mortal sight.
Upon thy head thou wear'st a glorious crown,
All set with virtues polish'd with renown:
Thence round about a silver veil doth fall
Of crystal light, mother of colours all.
The compass heaven, smooth without grain, or
fold,

All set with spangs of glittering stars untold,
And striped with golden beams of power unpent,
Is raised up for a removing tent.
Vaulted and arched are his chamber beams
Upon the seas, the waters, and the streams:
The clouds as chariots swift do scour the sky;
The stormy winds upon their wings do fly.

His angels spirits are, that wait his will;
As flames of fire his anger they fulfil.
In the beginning, with a mighty hand,
He made the earth by counterpoise to stand,
Never to move, but to be fixed still;
Yet hath no pillars but his sacred will.
This earth, as with a veil, once cover'd was,
The waters overflowed all the mass:
But upon his rebuke away they fled,

And then the hills began to show their head;
The vales their hollow bosoms open'd plain,
The streams ran trembling down the vales
again:

And that the earth no more might drowned be,
He set the sea his bounds of liberty;

But when the day appears, they back do fly,
And in their dens again do lurking lie.
Then man goes forth to labour in the field,
Whereby his grounds more rich increase may
yield.

O Lord, thy providence sufficeth all;
Thy goodness, not restrained, but general
Over thy creatures: the whole earth doth flow
With thy great largess pour'd forth here below.
Nor is it earth alone exalts thy name,

But seas and streams likewise do spread the

same.

The rolling seas unto the lot doth fall

Of beasts innumerable, great and small;
There do the stately ships plough up the floods,

And though his waves resound, and beat the shore, The greater navies look like walking woods; Yet it is bridled by his holy lore.

Then did the rivers seek their proper places,

And found their heads, their issues, and their

races;

The springs do feed the rivers all the way,
And so the tribute to the sea repay:
Running along through many a pleasant field,
Much fruitfulness unto the earth they yield:
That know the beasts and cattle feeding by,
Which for to slake their thirst do thither hie.
Nay, desert grounds the streams do not forsake,
But through the unknown ways their journey
take:

The asses wild, that hide in wilderness,
Do thither come, their thirst for to refresh.
The shady trees along their banks do spring,
In which the birds do build, and sit, and sing;
Stroking the gentle air with pleasant notes,
Plaining, or chirping through their warbling
throats.

The higher grounds, where waters cannot rise,
By rain and dews are water'd from the skies;
Causing the earth put forth the grass for beasts,
And garden herbs, served at the greatest feasts;
And bread, that is all viands firmament,
And gives a firm and solid nourishment;
And wine, man's spirits for to recreate;
And oil, his face for to exhilarate.
The sappy cedars, tall like stately towers,
High-flying birds do harbour in their bowers:
The holy storks, that are the travellers,
Choose for to dwell and build within the firs;
The climbing goats hang on steep mountains' side;
The digging coneys in the rocks do bide.
The moon, so constant in inconstancy,
Doth rule the monthly seasons orderly;
The sun, eye of the world, doth know his race,
And when to show, and when to hide his face.
Thou makest darkness, that it may be night,
When as the savage beasts, that fly the light,
As conscious of man's hatred, leave their den,
And range abroad, secured from sight of men.
Then do the forests ring of lions roaring,

That ask their meat of God, their strength restoring;

VOL. II.-55

The fishes there far voyages do make,
To divers shores their journey they do take.
There hast thou set the great leviathan,
That makes the seas to seeth like boiling pan.
All these do ask of thee their meat to live,
Which in due season thou to them dost give.
Ope thou thy hand, and then they have good
fare;

Shut thou thy hand, and then they troubled are.
All life and spirit from thy breath proceed,
Thy word doth all things generate and feed.
If thou withdraw'st it, then they cease to be,
And straight return to dust and vanity;
But when thy breath thou dost send forth again,
Then all things do renew and spring amain;
So that the earth, but lately desolate,
Doth now return unto the former state.
The glorious majesty of God above
Shall ever reign in mercy and in love:
God shall rejoice all his fair works to see,
For as they come from him, all perfect be.
The earth shall quake, if aught his wrath provoke;
Let him but touch the mountains, they shall
smoke.

As long as life doth last I hymns will sing,
With cheerful voice, to the eternal King;
As long as I have being, I will praise
The works of God, and all his wondrous ways.
I know that he my words will not despise,
Thanksgiving is to him a sacrifice.

But as for sinners, they shall be destroy'd
From off the earth, their places shall be void.
Let all his works praise him with one accord
O praise the Lord, my soul; praise ye the Lord!

THE TRANSLATION OF THE CXXVIth PSALM.

WHEN God return'd us graciously

Unto our native land,

We seem'd as in a dream to be,
And in a maze to stand.

20

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AN

ADVERTISEMENT TOUCHING A HOLY WAR.

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR MDCXXII.

MY LORD,

BY THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,

LANCELOT ANDREWS,

LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER, AND COUNSELLOR OF ESTATE TO HIS MAJESTY.

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Amongst consolations, it is not the least to represent to a man's self like examples of calamity in others. For examples give a quicker impression than arguments; and, besides, they certify us, that which the Scripture also tendereth for satisfaction; "that no new thing is happened unto us.' This they do the better, by how much the examples are liker in circumstances to our own case; and more especially if they fall upon persons that are greater and worthier than ourselves. For as it savoureth of vanity, to match ourselves highly in our own conceit; so, on the other side, it is a good sound conclusion, that if our betters have sustained the like events, we have the less cause to be grieved.

In this kind of consolation I have not been wanting to myself, though, as a Christian, I have tasted, through God's great goodness, of higher remedies. Having, therefore, through the variety of my reading, set before me many examples, both of ancient and later times, my thoughts, I confess, have chiefly stayed upon three particulars, as the most eminent and the most resembling. All three persons that had held chief place of authority in their countries; all three ruined, not by war, or by any other disaster, but by justice and sentence, as delinquents and criminals; all three famous writers, insomuch as the remembrance of their calamity is now as to posterity but as a little picture of night-work, remaining amongst the fair and excellent tables of their acts and works: and all three, if that were any thing to the matter, fit examples to quench any man's ambition of rising again; for that they were every one of them restored with great glory, but to their farther ruin and destruction, ending in a violent death. The men were, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Seneca; persons that I durst not claim affinity with, except the similitude of our fortunes had contracted it. When I had cast mine eyes upon these examples, I was carried on farther to observe, how they did bear their fortunes, and principally, how they did employ their times, being banished, and disabled for public business: to the end that I might learn by them; and that they might be as well my counsellors as my comforters. Whereupon I happened to note, how diversely their fortunes wrought upon them; especially in that point at which I did most aim, which was the employing of their times and pens. In Cicero, I saw that during his banishment, which was almost two years, he was so softened and dejected, as he wrote nothing but a few womanish epistles. And yet, in mine opinion, he had least reason of the three to be discouraged: for that although it was judged, and judged by the highest kind of judgment, in form of a statute or law, that he should be banished, and his whole estate confiscated and seized, and his houses pulled down, and that it should be highly penal for any man to propound a repeal; yet his case even then had no great blot of ignominy; for it was thought but a tempest of popularity which overthrew him. Demosthenes, contrariwise, though his case was foul, being condemned for bribery, and not simple bribery, but bribery in the nature of treason and disloyalty, yet, nevertheless, took so little knowledge of his fortune, as during his banishment he did much busy himself, and intermeddle with matters of state; and took upon him to counsel the state, as if he had been still at the helm, by letters; as appears by some epistles of his which are extant. Seneca indeed, who was condemned for many corruptions and crimes, and banished into a solitary island, kept a mean; and though his pen did not freeze, yet he abstained from intruding into matters of business; but spent his time in writing books of excellent argument and use for all ages; though he might have made better choice, sometimes, of his dedications.

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