Verse > Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey > Poetical Works
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Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47).  The Poetical Works.  1880.
 
A Paraphrase of Some of the Psalms of David
Psalm VIII
 
THY name, O Lord, how great, is found before our sight!
It fills the earth, and spreads the air: the great works of thy might!
For even unto the heavens thy power hath given a place,
And closed it above their heads; a mighty, large, compass.
Thy praise what cloud can hide, but it will shine again:        5
Since young and tender sucking babes have power to shew it plain.
Which in despight of those that would thy glory hide,
[Thou] hast put into such infants’ mouths for to confound their pride.
Wherefore I shall behold thy figur’d heaven so high,
Which shews such prints of divers forms within the cloudy sky:        10
As hills, and shapes of men; eke beasts of sundry kind,
Monstrous to our outward sight, and fancies of our mind.
And eke the wanish moon, which sheens by night also;
And each one of the wandering stars, which after her do go.
And how these keep their course; and which are those that stands;        15
Because they be thy wondrous works, and labours of thy hands.
But yet among all these I ask, ‘What thing is man?’
Whose turn to serve in his poor need this work Thou first began.
Or what is Adam’s son that bears his father’s mark?
For whose delight and comfort eke Thou hast wrought all this work.        20
I see thou mind’st him much, that dost reward him so:
Being but earth, to rule the earth, whereon himself doth go.
From angel’s substance eke Thou mad’st him differ small;
Save one doth change his life awhile; the other not at all.
The sun and moon also Thou mad’st to give him light;        25
And each one of the wandering stars to twinkle sparkles bright.
The air to give him breath; the water for his health;
The earth to bring forth grain and fruit, for to increase his wealth.
And many metals too, for pleasure of the eye;
Which in the hollow sounded ground in privy veins do lie.        30
The sheep to give his wool, to wrap his body in;
And for such other needful things, the ox to spare his skin.
The horse even at his will to bear him to and fro:
And as him list each other beast to serve his turn also.
The fishes of the sea likewise to feed him oft;        35
And eke the birds, whose feathers serve to make his sides lie soft.
Or whose head thou hast set a crown of glory too,
To whom also thou didst appoint, that honour should be do.
And thus thou mad’st him lord of all this work of thine;
Of man that goes, of beast that creeps, whose looks doth down decline;        40
Of fish that swim below, of fowls that fly on high,
Of sea that finds the air his rain, and of the land so dry.
And underneath his feet, Thou hast set all this same;
To make him know, and plain confess, that marvellous is thy name.
And, Lord, which art our Lord, how marvellous it is found        45
The heavens do shew, the earth doth tell, and eke the world so round.
Glory, therefore, be given to Thee first, which art three;
And yet but one Almighty God, in substance and degree:
As first it was when Thou the dark confused heap,
Clotted in one, didst part in four; which elements we clepe: 1        50
And as the same is now, even here within our time;
So 2 ever shall hereafter be, when we be filth and slime.
 
Note 1. We call. [back]
Note 2. MS. And. [back]
 
 
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