Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
Psalme LI
CIX. William Whittingham
 
Miserere mei, Deus.

O LORD, 1 consider my distresse,
And now with speede some pittie take;
My sinnes deface, my faults redresse,
Good Lord, for thy great mercies’ sake.
Wash me, O Lord, and make me cleane        5
From this vniust and sinfull act;
And purifie but once againe
My hainous crime and bloodie fact.
 
Remorse and sorrow doe constraine
Me to acknowledge mine excesse;        10
My sinne, alas! doth still remaine
Before my face without release.
For thee alone I haue offended,
Committing euill in thy sight;
And if I were therefore condemned,        15
Yet were thy iudgements iust and right.
 
It is too manifest, alas!
That first I was conceiued in sinne;
Yea, of my mother so borne was,
And yet, vile wretch, remaine therein.        20
Also behould, Lord, thou doest loue
The inward truth of a pure hart:
Therefore thy wisedome from aboue
Thou hast reuealed me to conuert.
 
If thou with hisope purge this blot,        25
I shall be cleaner than the glasse;
And if thou wash away my spot,
The snow in whitenesse shall I passe.
Therefore, O Lord, such ioy me send,
That inwardly I may find grace;        30
And then my strength may now amend,
Which yet hast swagde for my trespas.
 
Turne backe thy face and frowning ire,
For I haue felt inough thy hand;
And purge my sinnes, I thee desire,        35
Which doe in number passe the sand.
Make new my hart within my brest,
And frame it to thy holy will:
Thy constant Spirit in me let rest,
Which may these raging enemies kill.        40
 
Cast me not, Lord, out from thy face,
But spedily my torments end;
Take not from me thy Spirit and grace,
Which may from dangers me defend.
Restore me to those ioyes againe,        45
Which I was wont in thee to find;
And let me thy free Spirit retaine,
Which vnto thee may stir my mind.
 
Thus when I shall thy mercies know,
I shall instruct others therein;        50
And men likewise that are brought low
By mine example shall flee sin.
O God, that of my health art Lord,
Forgiue me this my bloudie vice;
My hart and tongue shall then accord        55
To sing thy mercies and iustice.
 
Touch thou my lips; my tongue vntie,
O Lord, which art the onely kay;
And then my mouth shall testifie
Thy wondrous workes and praise alway.        60
And as for outward sacrifice,
I would haue offered many a one,
But thou esteemest them of no price,
And therein pleasure takest none.
 
The heauie hart, the mind opprest,        65
O Lord, thou neuer doest reiect;
And, to speake truth, it is the best,
And of all sacrifice the effect.
Lord, vnto Sion turne thy face;
Poure out thy mercies on thy hill,        70
And on Jerusalem thy grace;
Build vp thy walles, and loue it still.
 
Thou shalt accept then our offrings
Of peace and righteousnes, I say;
Yea, calues and many other things        75
Vpon thine altar will we lay.
 
Note 1. CIX. William Whittingham.—This learned puritanical divine was educated at Oxford, after which he went abroad, and studied in some of the German universities. Subsequently he became minister of an English congregation at Geneva; but after the accession of Queen Elizabeth he returned to England, and was appointed Dean of Durham. While at Geneva, he took an active part in the translation of that version of the Scriptures known as the Geneva Bible; and also rendered those Psalms into metre which are distinguished in the Old Version by his initials, and some others, which are only to be found in the earliest editions. [back]
 
 
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