I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.@Psalm 39:1

From The Psalter (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: United Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1912), number 104.

Bera John E. Gould, 1849 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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John E. Gould (1821-1875)

With firm resolve I held my peace
And spake not either bad or good,
Lest I should utter sinful thoughts
While wicked men before me stood.

While I was dumb my grief was stirred,
My heart grew hot with thought suppressed;
The while I mused the fire increased,
Then to the Lord I made request.

Make me, O Lord, to know my end,
Teach me the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am
And turn from pride and sinful ways.

My time is nothing in Thy sight,
Behold, my days are but a span;
Yea, truly, at his best estate,
A breath, a fleeting breath, is man.

Man’s life is passed in vain desire
If troubled years be spent for gain;
He knows not whose his wealth shall be,
And all his toil is but in vain.

And now, O Lord, what wait I for?
I have no hope except in Thee;
Let not ungodly men reproach,
From all transgressions set me free.

Because Thou didst it I was dumb,
I spoke no word of rash complaint;
Remove Thy stroke away from me,
Beneath Thy chastisement I faint.

When Thou for his iniquity
Rebukest and correctest man,
His beauty is consumed away;
How weak his strength, how vain his plan.

Lord, hear my prayer, regard my cry;
I weep; be Thou my Comforter.
I am a stranger here below,
A pilgrim as my fathers were.

O spare me, Lord, avert Thy wrath,
Deal gently with me, I implore,
That I may yet recover strength
Ere I go hence and be no more.