Verse > Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey > Poetical Works
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47).  The Poetical Works.  1880.
A Paraphrase of Some of the Psalms of David
O LORD! upon whose will dependeth my welfare,
To call upon thy holy name, since day nor night I spare,
Grant that the just request of this repentant mind
So pierce thine ears, that in thy sight some favour it may find.
My soul is fraughted full with grief of follies past;        5
My restless body doth consume, and death approacheth fast:
Like them whose fatal thread, thy hand hath cut in twain;
Of whom there is no further bruit, which in their graves remain.
Oh Lord! thou hast me cast headlong, to please my foe,
Into a pit all bottomless, whereas I plain my woe.        10
The burden of thy wrath it doth me sore oppress;
And sundry storms thou hast me sent of terror and distress.
The faithful friends are fled and banished from my sight:
And such as I have held full dear, have set my friendship light.
My durance doth persuade of freedom such despair,        15
That by the tears that bain my breast, mine eyesight doth appair. 1
Yet do I never cease thine aid for to desire,
With humble heart and stretched hands, for to appease thine ire.
Wherefore dost thou forbear in the defence of thine,
To shew such tokens of thy power in sight of Adam’s line;        20
Whereby each feeble heart with faith might so be fed,
That in the mouth of thy elect thy mercies might be spread.
The flesh that feedeth worms cannot thy love declare!
Nor such set forth thy praise as dwell in the land of despair.
In blind indured hearts light of thy lively name        25
Cannot appear, nor cannot judge the brightness of the same.
Nor blazed may thy name be by the mouths of those
Whom death hath shut in silence, so as they may not disclose.
The lively voice of them that in thy word delight,
Must be the trump that must resound the glory of thy might.        30
Wherefore I shall not cease, in chief of my distress
To call on Thee, till that the sleep my wearied limbs oppress.
And in the morning eke when that the sleep is fled,
With floods of salt repentant tears to wash my restless bed.
Within this careful mind, burden’d with care and grief,        35
Why dost thou not appear, Oh Lord! that shouldst be his relief.
My wretched state behold, whom death shall straight assail;
Of one, from youth afflicted still, that never did but wail.
The dread, lo! of thine ire hath trod me under feet:
The scourges of thine angry hand hath made death seem full sweet.        40
Like as the roaring waves the sunken ship surround,
Great heaps of care did swallow me, and I no succour found:
For they whom no mischance could from my love divide,
Are forced, for my greater grief, from me their face to hide.
Note 1. Fail. [back]

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