Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
 
Psalm CIV
XLIX. Sir Henry Wotton
 
MY 1 soul, exalt the Lord with hymns of praise:
  O Lord my God, how boundless is thy might!
Whose throne of state is cloath’d with glorious rays,
  And round about hast robed thyself with light;
  Who like a curtain hast the heavens displayed,        5
  And in the watry roofs thy chambers laid;
 
Whose chariots are the thickned clouds above,
  Who walkst upon the winged winds below;
At whose command the airy spirits move,
  And fiery meteors their obedience show;        10
  Who on this base the earth didst firmly found,
  And mad’st the deep to circumvent it round.
 
The waves that rise would drown the highest hill,
  But at thy check they flie; and when they hear
Thy thundering voice, they post to do thy will,        15
  And bound their furies in their proper sphere;
  Where surging floods and valing ebbs can tell
  That none beyond thy marks must sink or swell.
 
Who hath dispos’d, but thou, the winding way
  Where springs down from their steepy crags do beat,        20
At which both fostered beasts their thirsts allay,
  And the wild asses come to quench their heat;
  Where birds resort, and, in their kind, thy praise
  Among the branches chant in warbling lays.
 
The mounts are watred from thy dwelling-place,        25
  The barns and meads are fill’d for man and beast;
Wine glads the heart, and oyl adorns the face,
  And bread the staff whereon our strength doth rest;
  Nor shrubs alone feel thy sufficing hand,
  But even the cedars that so proudly stand.        30
 
So have the fowls their sundry seats to breed;
  The ranging stork in stately beeches dwells;
The climbing goats on hills securely feed,
  The mining coneys shroud in rocky cells:
  Nor can the heavenly lights their course forget,        35
  The moon her turns, or sun his times to set.
 
Thou mak’st the night to over-vail the day;
  Then savage beasts creep from the silent wood,
Then lions’ whelps lie roaring for their prey,
  And at thy powerful hand demand their food;        40
  Who when at morn they all recouch again,
  Then toyling man till eve pursues his pain.
 
O Lord, when on thy various works we look,
  How richly furnish’d is the earth we tread!
Where in the fair contents of Nature’s book        45
  We may the wonders of thy wisdom read:
  Nor earth alone, but lo! the sea so wide,
  Where, great and small, a world of creatures glide.
 
There go the ships, that furrow out their way;
  Yea, thereof whales enormous sights we see,        50
Which yet have scope among the rest to play;
  And all do wait for their support on thee;
  Who hast assigned each thing his proper food,
  And in due season dost dispense thy good.
 
They gather, when thy gifts thou dost divide;        55
  Their stores abound, if thou thy hand enlarge;
Confused they are, when thou thy beams dost hide;
  In dust resolved, if thou their breath discharge:
  Again, when thou of life renewst the seeds,
  The withered fields revest their cheerfull weeds.        60
 
Be ever gloried here thy sovereign name,
  That thou mayst smile on all which thou hast made;
Whose frown alone can shake this earthly frame,
  And at whose touch the hills in smoak shall vade:
  For me, may (while I breathe) both harp and voice        65
  In sweet indictment of thy hymns rejoyce.
 
Let sinners fail, let all profaneness cease;
His praise (my soul), his praise shall be thy peace.
 
Note 1. XLIX. Sir Henry Wotton, whose name is familiar to the readers of the pleasing narrative written by Isaac Walton, was the author of a few minor poems possessing sufficient merit to have survived to our times. He was born in 1568, and died in 1640. [back]
 
 
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