1 What is the cause that thou, O Lord,
So far off now dost stand?
Why hidest thou thy face in time
When trouble is at hand?
2 The poor do perish by the proud
And wicked men's desire:
Let them be taken in the craft
Which they themselves conspire.
3 For in the lust of his own heart
Th'ungodly doth delight;
So doth the wicked praise himself,
And doth the Lord despite.
4 He is so proud, that right and wrong
He setteth all apart;
Nay, nay, there is no God, saith he,
For thus he thinks in heart.
5 Because his ways do prosper still,
He doth thy laws neglect;
And with a blast doth puff against
Such as would him correct.
6 Tush, tush, saith he, I have no dread,
Lest my estate should change ;
And why? for all adversity
To him is very strange.
7 His mouth is full of cursedness,
Of fraud, deceit, and guile;
Under his tongue there nothing is
But what is base and vile.
8 He lieth hid in ways and holes
To slay the innocent:
Against the poor that pass by him
His cruel eyes are bent.
9 And, like a lion, privily
Lies lurking in his den,
That he may snare them in his net,
And spoil poor harmless men.
10 With cunning craft and subtlety
He croucheth down alway;
So are great heaps of poor men made
By his strong pow'r a prey.
The Second Part
11 Tush, God forgetteth this, saith he,
Therefore I may be bold;
His countenance is cast aside,
He doth it not behold.
12 Arise, O Lord our God, in whom
The poor man's hope doth rest;
Lift up thy hand, do not forget
The poor that be oppress'd.
13 Why should the proud and wicked man
Blaspheme God's holy Name?
Whilst in his heart he crieth, Tush,
God cares not for the same.
14 But thou seest all their wickedness,
And well dost undentand,
That friendless and poor fatherless
Are left into thy hand.
15 Of wicked and malicious men
Then break the pow'r alway;
That they with their iniquity
May perish and decay.
16 The Lord doth reign for evermore
As King and God alone;
And he will chase out of the land
The heathen folk each one.
17 Thou hearest, Lord, the poor's complaint,
Their pray'r and their request:
Their hearts thou wilt confirm, until
Thine ears to hear be prest:
18 To judge the poor and fatherless,
And help them to their right,
That they may be no more oppress'd
By men of worldly might.
English metrical New Version (Tate & Brady)
1 Thy presence why withdraw'st thou, Lord?
Why hid'st thou now thy face,
When dismal times of deep distress
Call for thy wonted grace?
2 The wicked, swell'd with lawless pride,
Have made the poor their prey;
O let them fall by those designs
Which they for others lay!
3 For straight they triumph, if success
Their thriving crimes attend;
And sordid wretches, whom God hates,
Perversely they commend.
4 To own a pow'r above themselves
Their haughty pride disdains;
And therefore in their stubborn mind
No thought of God remains.
5 Oppressive methods they pursue
And all their foes they slight;
Because thy judgments, unobserv'd,
Are far above their sight.
6 They fondly think their prosp'rous state
Shall unmolested be;
They think their vain designs shall thrive,
From all misfortune free.
7 Vain and deceitful is their speech,
With curses fill'd and lies;
By which the mischief of their heart
They study to disguise.
8 Near public roads they lie conceal'd
And all their art employ,
The innocent and poor at once
To rifle and destroy.
9 Not lions, couching in their dens,
Surprise their heedless prey
With greater cunning, or express
More savage rage than they.
10 Sometimes they act the harmless man,
And modest looks they wear;
That, so deceiv'd, the poor may less
Their sudden onset fear.
The Second Part.
11 For God, they think, no notice takes
Of their unrighteous deeds;
He never minds the suff'ring poor,
Nor their oppression heeds.
12 But thou, O Lord, at length arise;
Stretch forth thy mighty arm;
And, by the greatness of thy pow'r,
Defend the poor from harm.
13 No longer let the wicked vaunt,
And proudly boasting, say,
Tush, God regards not what we do;
He never will repay.
14 But sure thou seest, and all their deeds
Impartially dost try;
The orphan, therefore, and the poor
On thee for aid rely.
15 Defenceless let the wicked fall,
Of all their strength bereft;
Confound, O God, their dark designs,
Till no remains are left.
16 Assert thy just dominion, Lord,
Which shall for ever stand:
Thou, who the heathen didst expel
From this thy chosen land.
17 Thou dost the humble suppliants hear
That to thy throne repair;
Thou first prepar'st their hearts to pray,
And then accept'st their pray'r.
18 Thou in thy righteous judgment weigh'st
The fatherless and poor;
That so the tyrants of the earth
May persecute no more.
1 Say, Lord, why thus thy aiding pow'r
Deserts us in the needful hour,
Why clouds impervious, round thee roll'd,
Thy presence from our sight withhold.
2 Shall impious men escape thy view,
While thus the guiltless they pursue?
O let them, by themselves chastis'd,
The ills sustain for him devis'd,
3 Nor longer boast their mad desires,
And acts which headlong rage inspires,
Or joyous grasp their lawless gain,
And thee, the soul's best wealth, disdain.
4 Proud wretch! who shuns o'er Nature's face
The footsteps of thy care to trace,
And thee, th'all-potent Monarch, thee
Denies, who gav'st himself to be.
5 Behold, while, high above all height,
Thy judgements, Lord, his distant sight
Elude, this minister of woe
Blast with his breath each obvious foe.
6 "See, proof to each assault I stand:
What pow'r shall e'er my fear demand?
What ill, to life's remotest day,
Obstruct the tenor of my way?"
7 His venom'd lips, with curses fraught,
Words ill according to his thought
Have utter'd, and beneath his tongue
Lurk fraud, and violence, and wrong.
8 Beside the solitary way,
Intent the helpless poor to stay,
He waits, and with malignant eye
Insidious marks each passer by.
9 As, couch'd within his bushy lair,
The lion fierce with hideous glare
Around him casts his wide survey,
And meditates the future prey,
10 So longs the man of blood to seize
The souls that own thy just decrees:
When, planted with successful care,
His nets their captive feet insnare,
11 What, Lord, his fury shall withstand,
Or save them from the murth'rous band,
That, leagu'd in sin, assist his toil,
And share with him the guilty spoil?
12 "Shall Heav'n's high Lord", he cries, "descend
The human actions to attend?
The paths by me at will pursu'd
His mem'ry and his thought elude."
13 Rise, mightiest Lord, and lift thy hand,
Nor let the injur'd poor demand
Thy saving aid with fruitless pray'r,
But guard them by thy fost'ring care.
14 Why should the souls, who thee decry,
With impious tongues reproachful cry,
"'Tis not within th'Almighty's plan
To scrutinize the acts of man?"
15 What eyes, like thine, eternal Sire,
Through sin's obscurest depths inquire?
What judge, like thee, on virtue's foes
The needful vengeance can impose?
16 The meek observer of thy laws
To thee commits his injur'd cause;
In thee, each anxious fear resign'd,
The fatherless a father find.
17 O, break the arm of impious might;
So shall their threats no more excite
Our dread, nor thy offended eye
The triumphs of their guilt descry.
18 Thine is the throne: beneath thy reign,
Immortal King! the tribes profane
Behold their dreams of conquest o'er,
And vanish to be seen no more.
19 Thou, Lord, thy people's wish canst read,
E'er from their lips the pray'r proceed;
'Tis thine their drooping hearts to rear,
And when they call incline thine ear;
20 'Tis thine the orphan's cheek to dry,
The guiltless suff'rer's cause to try,
To rein each earthborn tyrant's will,
And bid the sons of pride be still.