Do thou, just God, my cause defend,
O let thy pow'r its aid extend,
And make my quarrel thine; my foes
Let thy resistless pow'r oppose;
Arise thy speediest help to yield,
And reach the corslet, reach the shield,
Grasp in thy hand the glitt'ring lance,
And obvious in the breach advance;
Say to my troubled soul; 'In me
Thy strength and sure salvation see.'
Let shame their glowing cheeks o'erspread,
Whose ceaseless threats excite my dread,
And let them, struck with wild affright,
Inglorious backward urge their flight,
Dispers'd, as chaff before the wind,
Thy angel pressing close behind,
Along the dark and slipp'ry way,
Whose paths their stagg'ring steps betray,
And from the arm ethereal find
The vengeance to their guilt assign'd.
Thou seest them, Lord, with causeless hate,
Beside my path insidious wait,
With causeless hate the pit prepare,
And plant before my steps their snare.
O let destruction's sudden stroke,
While thus thy justice they provoke,
Descend, vindictive, on their head;
Fast in the net for me outspread
Involv'd, let each repentant groan,
And reap the mischiefs he has sown.
But thou, my soul, with awful joy
On God thy stedfast thought employ,
And, his salvation taught to prove,
Record the wonders of his love.
Each bone whose strength supports my frame
With grateful transport shall exclaim,
Lord! Whom like thee shall mortals find,
For ever just, for ever kind,
Like thee prepar'd th'afflicted poor
From stern oppression to secure.
Thus poor and thus oppress'd with wrong
Awhile was I: a hostile throng
(Whose tongue to fraud has loos'd the reins,
And lie with lie connected feigns)
Against me urg'd, to scandal prone,
The guilt my breast had never known,
And left me helpless and forlorn
The friendship ill repay'd to mourn,
That, when affliction's weight they bare,
Had taught my heart their woes to share:
While sickness wrapt them in its chain,
And fix'd them on the bed of pain,
My heart, that no affection ow'd,
With sympathizing pity glow'd.
I knew their suff'rings to bewail,
And sunk with grief, with fasting pale,
To God, in sorrow's garb array'd,
With humblest intercession pray'd,
And found the pray'r their pride has spurn'd
With blessings on my head return'd:
Dissolv'd in tears, with languour worn,
What misery my soul has borne!
Nor friend for friend sincerer woes,
Nor brother for a brother, knows;
Nor feels the son his melting breast
With deeper sense of grief impress'd,
That grasps a dying mother's hand,
And waits to take her last command,
Or o'er her loss in secret pines,
And wraps the sackcloth round his loins.
Not such the pity shown to me:
Ev'n abjects my abjection see
With scornful gaze, as round me stand,
In adverse league, a lawless band,
These taught with well-dissembled art
To veil the purpose of their heart,
While those in open hate engage,
And ceaseless vent their murth'rous rage,
Now furious grind their teeth, and now
Insulting aim the deathful blow.
How long wilt thou, my God, how long
With patient eye behold my wrong?
How long shall I, with anguish torn,
Thy face, my God, averted mourn?
With vain and fruitless hope attend
Till thou, my guardian and my friend,
The lion's dreaded rage control,
And rescue my deserted soul,
That, 'mid th'assembled tribes, my tongue
May raise to thee the thankful song?
O let not my uninjur'd foes
With speaking eye, amidst my woes,
As round they stand in close array,
The triumphs of their heart betray.
Behold them, Lord, their arts address,
The friends of peace and truth t'oppress,
But chief my name with insults load:
'Thou wretch abandon'd of thy God,
In vain', they clamour, 'what our eyes
Attest, thy conscious tongue denies.'
My God, (for thou their rage hast seen,)
With timeliest succour intervene,
Nor silent long, Almighty Sire,
Remain, nor distant far retire.
Arise, thy saving pow'r disclose,
And heal with pitying hand my woes;
Awake, thy aiding strength excite,
Awake, and vindicate my right;
Let justice teach them, by thy stroke,
Their frantic triumphs to revoke;
Let not their heart, its wish complete,
With secret joy transported beat,
Or boasting hail th'expected hour,
That gives me to the murth'rer's pow'r;
But back my threaten'd life demand
From stern opression's iron hand:
Let all who make my grief their scorn
Their blasted hopes astonish'd mourn;
Let stern rebuke and foul disgrace
With shame perpetual clothe their face,
Lo, nigh me rang'd, with thankful voice
The friends of innocence rejoice,
And 'Blest,' they cry, 'be Jacob's Lord,
The God by heav'n and earth ador'd,
Who joys his servant's cause to plead,
And crowns with peace his favour'd head.'
While, loudest in the choir, my tongue
To notes of praise shall tune its song,
And pleas'd through each revolving day
Thy justice, mightiest Lord, display.
Metrical paraphrases by Isaac Watts
FIRST PART (verses 1-9)
Prayer and faith of persecuted saints; or, Imprecations mix'd with charity.
1 Now plead my cause, Almighty God,
With all the sons of strife;
And fight against the men of blood,
Who fight against my life.
2 Draw out thy spear and stop their way,
Lift thine avenging rod;
But to my soul in mercy say,
"I am thy Saviour-God!"
3 They plant their snares to catch my feet,
And nets of mischief spread;
Plunge the destroyers in the pit
That their own hands have made.
4 Let fogs and darkness hide their way,
And slipp'ry be their ground;
Thy wrath shall make their lives a prey,
And all their rage confound.
5 They fly like chaff before the wind,
Before thine angry breath;
The angel of the Lord behind
Pursues them down to death.
6 They love the road that leads to hell;
Then let the rebels die,
Whose malice is implacable
Against the Lord on high.
7 But if thou hast a chosen few
Amongst that impious race;
Divide them from the bloody crew,
By thy surprising grace.
8 Then will I raise my tuneful voice,
To make thy wonders known;
In their salvation I'll rejoice,
And bless thee for my own.
SECOND PART (verses 12-14)
Love to enemies; or, The love of Christ to sinners typify'd in David.
1 Behold the love, the gen'rous love,
That holy David shows;
Hark, how his sounding bowels move
To his afflicted foes!
2 When they are sick his soul complains,
And seems to feel the smart;
The spirit of the gospel reigns,
And melts his pious heart.
3 How did his flowing tears condole
As for a brother dead!
And fasting mortified his soul,
While for their life he pray'd.
4 They groaned, and curst him on their bed,
Yet still he pleads and mourns;
And double blessings on his head
The righteous God returns.
5 O glorious type of heav'nly grace!
Thus Christ the Lord appears;
While sinners curse, the Savior prays,
And pities them with tears.
6 He, the true David, Israel's King,
Blest and belov'd of God,
To save us rebels dead in sin,
Paid his own dearest blood.