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Psalm Paraphrases (1673 ed.)

John Milton

These translated Psalms follow Comus: A Mask in the 1673 text of Poems &c. Upon Several Occasions.

Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed by Judy Boss of Omaha, Nebraska, and is presented by Renascence Editions with her kind permission. This presentation copyright © 1998 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.

| Psalm I. | Psalm II. | Psalm III. | Psalm IV. | Psalm V. | Psalm VI. |

| Psalm VII. | Psalm VIII. | Psalm LXXX. | Psalm LXXXI. | Psalm LXXXII. |

| Psalm LXXXIII. | Psalm LXXXIV. | Psalm LXXXV. | Psalm LXXXVI. |

| Psalm LXXXVII. | Psalm LXXXVIII.


P S A L.   I.   Done into Verse, 1653.


    Less'd is the man who hath not walk'd astray
    In counsel of the wicked, and ith' way
    Of sinners hath not stood, and in the seat
    Of scorners hath not sate. But in the great
    Jehovahs Law is ever his delight,
    And in his Law he studies day and night.
    He shall be as a tree which planted grows
    By watry streams, and in his season knows
    To yield his fruit, and his leaf shall not fall,
    And what he takes in hand shall prosper all.
    Not so the wicked, but as chaff which fann'd
    The wind drives, so the wicked shall not stand
    In judgment, or abide their tryal then,
    Nor sinners in th' assembly of just men.
    For the Lord knows th' upright way of the just,
    And the way of bad men to ruine must.

P S A L.   II. Done Aug. 8. 1653. Terzetti.

    Hy do the Gentiles tumult, and the Nations
      Muse a vain thing, the Kings of th' earth upstand
      With power, and Princes in their Congregations
    Lay deep their plots together through each Land,
      Against the Lord and his Messiah dear.
      Let us break off, say they, by strength of hand
    Their bonds, and cast from us, no more to wear,
      Their twisted cords: he who in Heaven doth dwell
      Shall laugh, the Lord shall scoff them, then severe
    Speak to them in his wrath, and in his fell
      And fierce ire trouble them; but I saith hee
      Anointed have my King (though ye rebell)
    On Sion my holi' hill. A firm decree
      I will declare; the Lord to me hath say'd
      Thou art my Son I have begotten thee
    This day; ask of me, and the grant is made;
      As thy possession I on thee bestow
      Th' Heathen, and as thy conquest to be sway'd
    Earths utmost bounds: them shalt thou bring full low
      With Iron Scepter bruis'd, and them disperse
      Like to a potters vessel shiver'd so.
    And now be wise at length ye Kings averse
      Be taught ye Judges of the earth; with fear
      Jehovah serve, and let your joy converse
    With trembling; kiss the Son least he appear
      In anger and ye perish in the way
      If once his wrath take fire like fuel sere.
    Happy all those who have in him their stay.

P S A L.   3. Aug. 9. 1653.

When he fled from Absalom.


    Ord how many are my foes
            How many those
        That in arms against me rise
            Many are they
      That of my life distrustfully thus say,
    No help for him in God there lies.
    But thou Lord art my shield my glory,
            Thee through my story
        Th' exalter of my head I count
            Aloud I cry'd
      Unto Jehovah, he full soon reply'd
    And heard me from his holy mount.
    I lay and slept, I wak'd again,
            For my sustain
        Was the Lord. Of many millions
            The populous rout
      I fear not though incamping round about
    They pitch against me their Pavillions.
    Rise Lord, save me my God for thou
            Hast smote ere now
        On the cheek-bone all my foes,
            Of men abhor'd
      Hast broke the teeth. This help was from the Lord;
    Thy blessing on thy people flows.

P S A L.   IV. Aug.10. 1653.

    Nswer me when I call
    God of my righteousness;
    In straights and in distres
    Thou didst me disinthrall
    And set at large; now spare,
      Now pity me, and hear my earnest prai'r.
    Great ones how long will ye
    My glory have in scorn
    How long be thus forborn
    Still to love vanity,
    To love, to seek, to prize
      Things false and vain and nothing else but lies?
    Yet know the Lord hath chose
    Chose to himself a part
    The good and meek of heart
    (For whom to chuse he knows)
    Jehovah from on high
      Will hear my voyce what time to him I crie.
    Be aw'd, and do not sin,
    Speak to your hearts alone,
    Upon your beds, each one,
    And be at peace within.
    Offer the offerings just
      Of righteousness and in Jehovah trust.
    Many there be that say
    Who yet will shew us good?
    Talking like this worlds brood;
    But Lord, thus let me pray,
    On us lift up the light
      Lift up the favour of thy count'nance bright.
    Into my heart more joy
    And gladness thou hast put
    Then when a year of glut
    Their stores doth over-cloy
    And from their plenteous grounds
      With vast increase their corn and wine abounds.
    In peace at once will I
    Both lay me down and sleep
    For thou alone dost keep
    Me safe where ere I lie
    As in a rocky Cell
      Thou Lord alone in safety mak'st me dwell.

P S A L.   V. Aug. 12. 1653.

    Ehovah to my words give ear
            My meditation waigh
      The voyce of my complaining hear
    My King and God for unto thee I pray.
      Jehovah thou my early voyce
            Shalt in the morning hear
      Ith' morning I to thee with choyce
    Will rank my Prayers, and watch till thou appear.
      For thou art not a God that takes
            In wickedness delight
      Evil with thee no biding makes
    Fools or mad men stand not within thy sight.
      All workers of iniquity
            Thou hat'st; and them unblest
      Thou wilt destroy that speak a ly
    The bloodi' and guileful man God doth detest.
      But I will in thy mercies dear
            Thy numerous mercies go
      Into thy house; I in thy fear
    Will towards thy holy temple worship low.
      Lord lead me in thy righteousness
            Lead me because of those
      That do observe if I transgress,
    Set thy wayes right before, where my step goes.
      For in his faltring mouth unstable
            No word is firm or sooth
      Their inside, troubles miserable;
    An open grave their throat, their tongue they smooth.
      God, find them guilty, let them fall
            By their own counsels quell'd;
      Push them in their rebellions all
    Still on; for against thee they have rebell'd;
      Then all who trust in thee shall bring
            Their joy, while thou from blame
      Defend'st them, they shall ever sing
    And shall triumph in thee, who love thy name.
      For thou Jehovah wilt be found
            To bless the just man still,
      As with a shield thou wilt surround
    Him with thy lasting favour and good will.

P S A L.   VI. Aug.13. 1653.

    Ord in thine anger do not reprehend me
      Nor in thy hot displeasure me correct;
    Pity me Lord for I am much deject
      Am very weak and faint; heal and amend me,
    For all my bones, that even with anguish ake,
      Are troubled, yea my soul is troubled sore;
    And thou O Lord how long? turn Lord, restore
      My soul, O save me for thy goodness sake
    For in death no remembrance is of thee;
      Who in the grave can celebrate thy praise?
    Wearied I am with sighing out my dayes,
      Nightly my Couch I make a kind of Sea;
    My Bed I water with my tears; mine Eie
      Through grief consumes, is waxen old and dark
    Ith' mid'st of all mine enemies that mark.
      Depart all ye that work iniquitie.
    Depart from me, for the voice of my weeping
      The Lord hath heard, the Lord hath heard my prai'r
    My supplication with acceptance fair
      The Lord will own, and have me in his keeping.
    Mine enemies shall all be blank and dash't
      With much confusion; then grow red with shame,
    They shall return in hast the way they came
      And in a moment shall be quite abash't.

P S A L.   VII. Aug. 14. 1653.

Upon the words of Chush the Benjamite against him.


    Ord my God to thee I flie
    Save me and secure me under
    Thy protection while I crie
    Least as a Lion (and no wonder)
    He hast to tear my Soul asunder
    Tearing and no rescue nigh.

     Lord my God if I have thought
    Or done this, if wickedness
    Be in my hands, if I have wrought
    Ill to him that meant me peace,
    Or to him have render'd less,
    And not fre'd my foe for naught;

     Let th' enemy pursue my soul
    And overtake it, let him tread
    My life down to the earth and roul
    In the dust my glory dead,
    In the dust and there out spread
    Lodge it with dishonour foul.

     Rise Jehovah in thine ire
    Rouze thy self amidst the rage
    Of my foes that urge like fire;
    And wake for me, their furi' asswage;
    Judgment here thou didst ingage
    And command which I desire.

     So th' assemblies of each Nation
    Will surround thee, seeking right,
    Thence to thy glorious habitation
    Return on high and in their sight.
    Jehovah judgeth most upright
    All people from the worlds foundation.

     Judge me Lord, be judge in this
    According to my righteousness
    And the innocence which is
    Upon me: cause at length to cease
    Of evil men the wickedness
    And their power that do amiss.

     But the just establish fast,
    Since thou art the just God that tries
    Hearts and reins. On God is cast
    My defence, and in him lies
    In him who both just and wise
    Saves th' upright of Heart at last.

     God is a just Judge and severe,
    And God is every day offended;
    If th' unjust will not forbear,
    His Sword he whets, his Bow hath bended
    Already, and for him intended
    The tools of death, that waits him near.

     (His arrows purposely made he
    For them that persecute.) Behold 
    He travels big with vanitie,
    Trouble he hath conceav'd of old
    As in a womb, and from that mould
    Hath at length brought forth a Lie.

     He dig'd a pit, and delv'd it deep,
    And fell into the pit he made,
    His mischief that due course doth keep
    Turns on his head, and his ill trade
    Of violence will undelay'd
    Fall on his crown with ruine steep.

     Then will I Jehovah's praise
    According to his justice raise
    And sing the Name and Deitie
    Of Jehovah the most high.

P S A L.   VIII. Aug.14. 1653.

    Jehovah our Lord how wondrous great
    And glorious is thy name through all the earth?
    So as above the Heavens thy praise to set
      Out of the tender mouths of latest bearth,

     Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou
      Hast founded strength because of all thy foes
    To stint th' enemy, and slack th' avengers brow
      That bends his rage thy providence to oppose.

     When I behold thy Heavens, thy Fingers art,
      The Moon and Starrs which thou so bright hast set,
    In the pure firmament, then saith my heart,
      O what is man that thou remembrest yet,

     And think'st upon him; or of man begot
      That him thou visit'st and of him art found;
    Scarce to be less then Gods, thou mad'st his lot,
      With honour and with state thou hast him crown'd.

     O're the works of thy hand thou mad'st him Lord,
      Thou hast put all under his lordly feet,
    All Flocks, and Herds, by thy commanding word,
      All beasts that in the field or forrest meet.

     Fowl of the Heavens, and Fish that through the wet
      Sea-paths in shoals do slide. And know no dearth.
    O Jehovah our Lord how wondrous great
      And glorious is thy name through all the earth.

April. 1648. J. M.

Nine of the Psalms done into Metre, wherein all
  but what is in a different Character, are the
  very words of the Text, translated from the 

P S A L.   LXXX.


    Hou Shepherd that dost Israel keep
        Give ear in time of need,
      Who leadest like a flock of sheep
        Thy loved Josephs seed,
      That sitt'st between the Cherubs bright
        Between their wings out-spread
      Shine forth, and from thy cloud give light,
        And on our foes thy dread.
    2 In Ephraims view and Benjamins,

    * Gnorera.
        And in Manasse's sight 
      Awake* thy strength, come, and be seen
        To save us by thy might.
    3 Turn us again, thy grace divine
        To us O God vouchsafe;
      Cause thou thy face on us to shine
        And then we shall be safe.
    4 Lord God of Hosts, how long wilt thou,
        How long wilt thou declare
    * Gnashanta.
      Thy *smoaking wrath, and angry brow
        Against thy peoples praire.
    5 Thou feed'st them with the bread of tears,
        Their bread with tears they eat,
    * Shalish.
      And mak'st them* largely drink the tears
        Wherwith their cheeks are wet.
    6 A strife thou mak'st us and a prey
        To every neighbour foe,
    * Jilgnagu.



      Among themselves they *laugh, they *play,
        And flouts at us they throw.
    7 Return us, and thy grace divine,
        O God of Hosts vouchsafe
      Cause thou thy face on us to shine,
        And then we shall be safe.
    8 A Vine from Ægypt thou hast brought,
        Thy free love made it thine,
      And drov'st out Nations proud and haut
        To plant this lovely Vine.
    9 Thou did'st prepare for it a place
        And root it deep and fast
      That it began to grow apace,
        And fill'd the land at last.
    10 With her green shade that cover'd all,
        The Hills were over-spread
      Her Bows as high as Cedars tall
        Advanc'd their lofty head.
    11 Her branches on the western side
        Down to the Sea she sent,
      And upward to that river wide
        Her other branches went.
    12 Why hast thou laid her Hedges low
        And brok'n down her Fence,
      That all may pluck her, as they go,
        With rudest violence?
    13 The tusked Boar out of the wood
        Up turns it by the roots,
      Wild Beasts there brouze, and make their food
        Her Grapes and tender Shoots.
    14 Return now, God of Hosts, look down
        From Heav'n, thy Seat divine,
      Behold us, but without a frown,
        And visit this thy Vine.
    15 Visit this Vine, which thy right hand
        Hath set, and planted long,
      And the young branch, that for thy self
        Thou hast made firm and strong.
    16 But now it is consum'd with fire,
        And cut with Axes down,
      They perish at thy dreadfull ire,
        At thy rebuke and frown.
    17 Upon the man of thy right hand
        Let thy good hand be laid,
      Upon the Son of Man, whom thou
        Strong for thyself hast made.
    18 So shall we not go back from thee
        To wayes of sin and shame,
      Quick'n us thou, then gladly wee
        Shall call upon thy Name.
      Return us, and thy grace divine
        Lord God of Hosts voutsafe,
      Cause thou thy face on us to shine,
        And then we shall be safe.


    O God our strength sing loud, and clear,
        Sing loud to God our King,
      To Jacobs God, that all may hear
        Loud acclamations ring.
    2 Prepare a Hymn, prepare a Song
        The Timbrel hither bring
      The cheerfull Psaltry bring along
        And Harp with pleasant string.
    3 Blow, as is wont, in the new Moon
        With Trumpets lofty sound,
      Th' appointed time, the day wheron
        Our solemn Feast comes round.
    4 This was a Statute giv'n of old
        For Israel to observe
      A Law of Jacobs God, to hold
        From whence they might not swerve.
    5 This he a Testimony ordain'd
        In Joseph, not to change,
      When as he pass'd through Ægypt land;
        The Tongue I heard, was strange.
    6 From burden, and from slavish toyle
        I set his shoulder free;
      His hands from pots, and mirie soyle
        Deliver'd were by me.
    7 When trouble did thee sore assaile,
        On me then didst thou call,
      And I to free thee did not faile,
        And led thee out of thrall.
    * Be Sether

      I answer'd thee in *thunder deep
        With clouds encompass'd round;
      I tri'd thee at the water steep
        Of Meriba renown'd.
    8 Hear O my people, heark'n well,
        I testifie to thee
      Thou antient flock of Israel,
        If thou wilt list to mee,
    9 Through out the land of thy abode
        No alien God shall be
      Nor shalt thou to a forein God
        In honour bend thy knee.
    10 I am the Lord thy God which brought
        Thee out of Ægypt land
      Ask large enough, and I, besought,
        Will grant thy full demand.
    11 And yet my people would not hear,
        Nor hearken to my voice;
      And Israel whom I lov'd so dear
        Mislik'd me for his choice.
    12 Then did I leave them to their will
        And to their wandring mind;
      Their own conceits they follow'd still
        Their own devises blind.
    13 O that my people would be wise
        To serve me all their daies,
      And O that Israel would advise
        To walk my righteous waies.
    14 Then would I soon bring down their foes
        That now so proudly rise,
      And turn my hand against all those
        That are their enemies.
    15 Who hate the Lord should then be fain
        To bow to him and bend,
      But they, His people, should remain,
        Their time should have no end.
    16 And he would feed them from the shock
        With flower of finest wheat,
      And satisfie them from the rock
        With Honey for their Meat.


    Od in the *great *assembly stands
    * Bagnadath-el.
    + Bekerev.


        Of Kings and lordly States,
      Among the gods+ on both his hands
        He judges and debates.
    2 How long will ye *pervert the right
        With *judgment false and wrong
      Favouring the wicked by your might,
        Who thence grow bold and strong?
    3 Regard the *weak and fatherless
    * Shiphtu-dal.

    + Hatzdiku.

        *Dispatch the *poor mans cause,
      And +raise the man in deep distress
        By +just and equal Lawes.
    4 Defend the poor and desolate,
        And rescue from the hands
      Of wicked men the low estate
        Of him that help demands.
    5 They know not nor will understand,
        In darkness they walk on,
      The Earths foundations all are *mov'd
    * Jimmotu. 20
        And *out of order gon.
    6 I said that ye were Gods, yea all
        The Sons of God most high
    7 But ye shall die like men, and fall
        As other Princes die.
    8 Rise God, *judge thou the earth in might,
    * Shiphta.

    This wicked earth *redress,
  For thou art he who shalt by right
    The Nations all possess.

F I N I S.

Transcribed by Judy Boss of Omaha, Nebraska.
HTML conversion by R.S. Bear of Eugene, Oregon.

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