Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
Psalme XVIII
CV. Thomas Sternhold
First Part

Diligam te, Domine.

O GOD, 1 my strength and fortitude,
  Of force I must loue thee;
Thou art my castle and defence
  In my necessitie:
My God, my rock, in whom I trust,        5
  The worker of my wealth,
My refuge, buckler, and my shield,
  The home of all my health.
When I sing laud vnto the Lord,
  Most worthie to be serued,        10
Then from my foes I am right sure
  That I shall be preserued.
The pangs of death did compasse me,
  And bound me euerie where;
The flowing waues of wickednesse        15
  Did put me in great feare.
The sly and suttle snares of hell
  Were round about me set;
And for my death there was prepard
  A deadly trapping net.        20
I, thus beset with paine and grief,
  Did pray to God for grace;
And he forthwith did heare my plaint
  Out of his holie place.
Such is his power, that in his wrath        25
  He made the earth to quake,
Yea, the foundation of the mount
  Of Basan for to shake.
And from his nostrels came a smoke,
  When kindled was his ire;        30
And from his mouth came kindled coales
  Of hoat consuming fire.
The Lord descended from aboue,
  And bowd the heauens hie;
And vnderneth his feet he cast        35
  The darknesse of the skie.
On cherubes and on cherubins
  Full roially he road;
And on the wings of all the winds
  Came flying all abroad.        40
Note 1. CV. Thomas Sternhold.—He was groom of the robes to Henry the Eighth: an office which he retained in the court of Edward the Sixth. Braithwait says that he obtained his situation by his poetical talents; and he appears, indeed, to have had a reputation about the court not only for his poetry, but also for his piety. As is well known, Sternhold was one of the principal contributors to the Old Version of the Psalms of David. It is generally believed that he composed fifty-one; but this is an error. Sternhold died in 1549, in which year thirty-seven, and not fifty-one, were first published by Day under the title of “Psalmes of Dauid, drawen into English Metre by Thomas Sternholde.” In 1551, another edition was published, with seven added from the pen of John Hopkins; and seven more were added in 1556 by William Whittingham, then an exile at Geneva. The remaining Psalms were versified by different individuals, and they were first printed all together at the end of the Book of Common Prayer, in 1562, under the title of “The whole Book of Psalmes, collected into English Metre, by T. Sternhold, J. Hopkins, and others. Set forth and allowed to be sung in all Churches before and after Morning and Evening Prayer, and also before and after Sermons.” In the early editions of “The whole Book of Psalmes” Sternhold’s initials are affixed to the first and twenty-second inclusive, and to the 25th, 26th, 28th, 32d, 34th, 41st, 43rd, 44th, 63rd, 68th, 73rd, 103rd, 120th, 123rd, and 128th: in the whole thirty-seven, the number published. [back]

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