Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.@Psalm 37:1-2

Adapted by Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791) from A New Version of the Psalms of David, by Nahum Tate & Nicholas Brady, 1696.

Old 113th, attributed to Matthäus Greiter, Strassburger Kirchenamt 1525 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)

Tho’ wicked men grow rich or great,
Yet let not their successful state
Thy anger, or thy envy, raise;
For they, cut down, like tender grass,
Or like young flowers, away shall pass,
Whose blooming beauty soon decays.

Depend on God, and Him obey;
So thou within the Land shalt stay,
Secure from danger, and from want;
Make His commands thy chief delight;
And He, thy duty to requite,
Shall all thy earnest wishes grant.

In all thy ways trust thou the Lord,
And He will needful help afford,
To perfect every just design;
He’ll make, like light, serene and clear,
Thy clouded innocence appear,
And as a mid-day sun to shine.

With quiet mind on God depend,
And patiently for Him attend;
Nor let thy anger fondly rise,
Tho’ wicked men with wealth abound,
And with success the plots are crowned,
Which they maliciously devise.

From anger cease, and wrath forsake;
Let no ungoverned passion make
Thy wavering heart espouse their crime:
For God shall sinful men destroy;
Whilst only they the land enjoy,
Who trust on Him, and wait His time.

How soon shall wicked men decay!
Their place shall vanish quite away,
Nor by the strictest search be found;
Whilst humble souls possess the earth,
Rejoicing still with godly mirth,
With peace and plenty always crowned.

While sinful crowds, with false design,
Against the righteous few combine,
And gnash their teeth, and threatening stand;
God shall their empty plots deride,
And laugh at their defeated pride:
He sees their ruin near at hand.

They draw the sword, and bend the bow,
The poor and needy to o’erthrow,
And men of upright lives to slay:
But their strong bows shall soon be broke
Their sharpened weapon’s mortal stroke
Thro’ their own hearts shall force its way.

A little, with God’s favor blest,
That’s by one righteous men possessed,
The wealth of many bad excels:
For God supports the just man’s cause;
But, as for those that break His laws,
Their unsuccessful power He quells.

His constant care the upright guides,
And over all their life presides;
Their portion shall for ever last:
They, when distress o’erwhelms the earth,
Shall be unmoved, and e’en in dearth
The happy fruits of plenty taste.

Not so the wicked men, and those
Who proudly dare God’s will oppose:
Destruction is their hapless share:
Like fat of lambs, their hopes, and they,
Shall in an instant melt away,
And vanish into smoke and air.

While sinners, brought to sad decay,
Still borrow on, and never pay,
The just have will and power to give;
For such as God vouchsafes to bless,
Shall peaceably the earth possess;
And those He curses, shall not live.

The good man’s way is God’s delight;
He orders all the steps aright,
Of him that moves by His command;
Though he sometimes may be distressed;
Yet shall he ne’er be quite oppressed;
For God upholds him with His hand.

From my first youth, till age prevailed,
I never saw the righteous failed,
Or want o’ertake his numerous race,
Because compassion filled his heart,
And he did cheerfully impart,
God made his offspring’s wealth increase.

With caution shun each wicked deed,
In virtue’s ways with zeal proceed,
And so prolong your happy days:
For God, who judgment loves, does still
Preserve His saints secure from ill,
While soon the wicked race decays.

The upright shall possess the land:
His portion shall for ages stand;
His mouth with wisdom is supplied;
His tongue by rules of judgment moves;
His heart the law of God approves;
Therefore his footsteps never slide.

In wait the watchful sinner lies,
In vain the righteous to surprise;
In vain, his ruin does decree:
God will not him defenseless leave,
To His revenge exposed, but save,
And, when he’s sentenced, set him free.

Wait still on God; keep His commands;
And thou, exalted in the land,
Thy blest possession ne’er shalt quit:
The wicked soon destroyed shall be,
And at his dismal tragedy
Thou shalt a safe spectator sit.

The wicked I in power have seen,
And, like a bay-tree, fresh and green,
That spreads its pleasant branches round;
But he was gone as swift as thought;
And tho’ in every place I sought,
No sign or track of him I found.

Observe the perfect man with care,
And mark all such as upright are;
Their roughest days in peace shall end:
While on the latter end of those,
Who dare God’s sacred will oppose.
A common ruin shall attend.

God to the just will aid afford;
Their only safeguard is the Lord;
Their strength, in time of need, is He:
Because on Him they still depend,
The Lord will timely succor send,
And from the wicked set them free.