1 I said, I will look to my ways,
lest with my tongue I sin:
In sight of wicked men my mouth
with bridle I’ll keep in.
2 With silence I as dumb became,
I did myself restrain
From speaking good; but then the more
increased was my pain.
3 My heart within me waxed hot;
and, while I musing was,
The fire did burn; and from my tongue
these words I did let pass:
4 Mine end, and measure of my days,
O Lord, unto me show
What is the same; that I thereby
my frailty well may know.
5 Lo, thou my days an handbreadth mad’st;
mine age is in thine eye
As nothing: sure each man at best
is wholly vanity.
6 Sure each man walks in a vain show;
they vex themselves in vain:
He heaps up wealth, and doth not know
to whom it shall pertain.
7 And now, O Lord, what wait I for?
my hope is fix’d on thee.
8 Free me from all my trespasses,
the fool’s scorn make not me.
9 Dumb was I, op’ning not my mouth,
because this work was thine.
10 Thy stroke take from me; by the blow
of thine hand I do pine.
11 When with rebukes thou dost correct
man for iniquity,
Thou wastes his beauty like a moth:
sure each man’s vanity.
12 Attend my cry, Lord, at my tears
and pray’rs not silent be:
I sojourn as my fathers all,
and stranger am with thee.
13 O spare thou me, that I my strength
recover may again,
Before from hence I do depart,
and here no more remain.
Common Metre (8,6,8,6)
120 St Mary