Psalm 52
by Mary (Sidney) Herbert,
Countess of Pembroke

      TYRANT, why swell'st thou thus,
    Of mischief vaunting?
Since help from God to us
    Is never wanting.

Lewd lies thy tongue contrives,
    Loud lies it soundeth;
Sharper than sharpest knives
    With lies it woundeth.

Falsehood thy wit approves,
    All truth rejected:
Thy will all vices loves,
    Virtue neglected.

Not words from cursed thee,
    But gulfs are poured;
Gulfs wherein daily be
    Good men devoured.

Think'st thou to bear it so?
    God shall displace thee;
God shall thee overthrow,
    Crush thee, deface thee.

The just shall fearing see
    These fearful chances,
And laughing shoot at thee
    With scornful glances.

Lo, lo, the wretched wight,
    Who God disdaining,
His mischief made his might,
    His guard his gaining.

I as an olive tree
    Still green shall flourish:
God's house the soil shall be
    My roots to nourish.

My trust in his true love
    Truly attending,
Shall never thence remove,
    Never see ending.

Thee will I honour still,
    Lord, for this justice;
There fix my hopes I will
    Where thy saints' trust is.

Thy saints trust in thy name,
    Therein they joy them:
Protected by the same,
    Naught can annoy them.

(Wr. probably before 1599; pub. 1823)

Text source:
The New Oxford Book of Sixteenth Century Verse. Emrys Jones, Ed.
New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1992. 468-469.

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