Complete Texts for John Playford's Psalms to sing to the Citharen.

Compiled by Kevin McDermott.

Last updated Thursday, June 21, 2012.
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Only the first verse of these psalm texts were provided by John Playford in his cittern book — most 17th century Englishmen and women who belonged to the established Church of England would have known the rest by heart. Dissenters and adherents of the Old Faith had their own versions, which were just as much a part of their daily life. The source of these texts is:

THE BOOKE OF P S A L M E S : COLLECTED INTO ENGLISH Meeter, by THOMAS STERNEHOLD, IOHN HOPKINS, and others: conferred with the Hebrew; with apt Notes to sing them withall. Set forth and allowed to be sung in all Churches, of the people together, before and after Morning and Euening Prayer: As also before and after Sermon; and moreouer in priuate houses, for their godly solace and comfort, laying apart all vngodly Songs and Ballads, which tend onely to the nourishment of vice, and corrupting of youth. IAMES V. If any be afflicted, let him pray: if any be merry, let him sing Psalmes. COLLOSSIANS III. Let the word of God dwell plenteously in you, in all wisedome teaching and exhorting one another, in Psalmes, Hymnes, and spirituall Songs, and sing vnto the Lord in your hearts.

The facsimile from which these texts are taken has no date-and some 460 editions were published following the first "complete" edition of 1562. By appearance, I would presume it to date between 1590 and 1630. The long s has been silently replaced by short s; ligatures have been suppressed; original spellings have been preserved.

— Kevin McDermott


Dominus regit. Psalm xxiij. Th.[omas] Stern.[ehold]
Dauid hauing tryed Gods manifold mercies diuerse times, gathered assurance that God uuill continue his goodnesse for euer.
MY shepheard is the liuing Lord,
     nothing therefore I neede:
In pastures faire, with waters calme
     he sets me for to feede.
2    He did conuert and glad my soule,
     and brought my minde in frame:
To walke in paths of righteousnesse,
     for his most holy name.
3    Yea, though I walke in vaile of death,
     yet will I feare none ill:
The rod, thy staffe doth comfort me,
     and thou art with me still.
4    And in the presence of my foes,
     my table thou shalt spread:
Thou shalt O Lord fill full my cup,
     and eke anoynt my head.
5    Through all my life thy fauour is
     so frankely shewed to me:
That in thy house for euermore
     my dwelling place shall be.
Dominus regit. Psalm xxiij. Th.[omas] Stern.[ehold]
Dauid hauing tryed Gods manifold mercies diuerse times, gathered assurance that God uuill continue his goodnesse for euer.
MY shepheard is the liuing Lord,
     nothing therefore I neede:
In pastures faire, with waters calme
     he sets me for to feede.
2    He did conuert and glad my soule,
     and brought my minde in frame:
To walke in paths of righteousnesse,
     for his most holy name.
3    Yea, though I walke in vaile of death,
     yet will I feare none ill:
The rod, thy staffe doth comfort me,
     and thou art with me still.
4    And in the presence of my foes,
     my table thou shalt spread:
Thou shalt O Lord fill full my cup,
     and eke anoynt my head.
5    Through all my life thy fauour is
     so frankely shewed to me:
That in thy house for euermore
     my dwelling place shall be.
Dominus regit. Psalm xxiij. Th.[omas] Stern.[ehold]
Dauid hauing tryed Gods manifold mercies diuerse times, gathered assurance that God uuill continue his goodnesse for euer.
MY shepheard is the liuing Lord,
     nothing therefore I neede:
In pastures faire, with waters calme
     he sets me for to feede.
2    He did conuert and glad my soule,
     and brought my minde in frame:
To walke in paths of righteousnesse,
     for his most holy name.
3    Yea, though I walke in vaile of death,
     yet will I feare none ill:
The rod, thy staffe doth comfort me,
     and thou art with me still.
4    And in the presence of my foes,
     my table thou shalt spread:
Thou shalt O Lord fill full my cup,
     and eke anoynt my head.
5    Through all my life thy fauour is
     so frankely shewed to me:
That in thy house for euermore
     my dwelling place shall be.
Cum inuocarem. Psal. iiij. T.S.
Dauid persecuted by Saul, calleth vpon God, vvith assured trust, reprooueth his enemies for resisting his dominion, and preferreth the fauour of God before all treasure.
O God, that art my righteousnesse,
     Lord heare me when I call:
Thou hast set me at liberty
     when I was bound and thrall.
2    Haue mercy Lord therefore on me,
     and grant me my request:
For vnto thee vncessantly
     to cry I will not rest.
3    O mortall men how long will ye,
     my glory thus dispise?
Why wander ye in vanitie,
     and follow after lies?
4    Know ye that good and godly men,
     the Lord doth take and chuse:
And when to him I make my plaint
     he doth me not refuse.
5    Sinne not but stand in awe therefore,
     examine well your heart:
And in your chamber quietly
     see you your selues conuert.
6    Offer to God the sacrifice
     of reighteousnesse, I say:
And looke that in the liuing Lord
     you put your trust alway.
7    The greater sort craue worldly gods,
     and riches doe embrace:
But Lord grant vs thy countenance,
     thy fauour and thy grace.
8    For thou thereby shalt make my heart
     more ioyfull and more glad,
Then they that of their corne and wine,
     full great increase haue had.
9    In peace therefore lie downe will I,
     taking my rest and sleepe:
For thou onely wilt me, O Lord,
     alone in safety keepe.
Quam dilecta? Psal. Lxxxiiij. I.[ohn] H.[opkins]
Dauid exiled his countrey, desireth ardently to returne to Gods Tabernacle, and assembly of the Saints, to prayse God: then hee prayseth the courage of the people tha passe the vvildernesse, to assemble themselues in Sion.
HOw Pleasant is thy dweling place,
     O Lord of hoasts to mee?
The Tabernacles of thy grace,
     how pleasant Lord they be?
2    My soule doth long full sore to goe
     into thy Courts abroad:
My heart doth lust, my flesh also
     in thee the liuing Lord.
3    The sparrowes finde a roome to rest,
     and saue themselues from wrong:
And eke the swallow hath a nest
     wherein to keepe her yong.
4    These birds full nigbh thine Altar may haue place to sit and sing:
O Lord of hoasts, thou art I say,
     my God and eke my King.
5    O they be blessed that may dwell
     within thy house alwayes:
For they all times thy facts doe tell,
     and euer giue thee prayse.
6    Yea, happy sure likewise are they,
     whose stay and strength thou art:
Which to thy house doe minde the way,
     and seeke it in their heart.
7    As they goe through the vale of teares
     they digge vp fountaines still:
That as a spring in all appeares,
     and thou their pits dost fill.
8    From strength to strength they walke full fast,
     no fainensse there shall be:
And so the God of Gods at last
     in Sion they doe see.
9    O Lord of hoasts to me giue heede,
     and heare when I doe pray:
And let it through thine eares proceede,
     O Iaakobs God I say.
10   O Lord our shield of thy good grace
     regard and so draw neare:
Regard I say, behold the face
     of thine anoynted deare.
11   For why? within the Courts on day
     is better to abide:
Then other where to keepe or stay
     a thousand dayes beside.
12   Much rather would I keepe a doore
     within the house of God,
Then in the tents of wickednesse
     to settle mine abode.
13   For God the Lord light and defence,
     will grace and worship giue
And no good thing will he with-hold
     from them that purely liue.
14   O Lord of hoastes that man is blest,
     and happy sure is he:
That is perswaded in his brest,
     to trust all times in thee.
Laudate Dom. Psal. Cxlviij. I.H.
He prouoketh all creatures to praise the Lord, in Heauen, and in all places, especially for the povver that he hath giuen to his people Israel.
GIue Laud vnto the Lord
     from heauen that is so hie:
Praise him in deed and word
     aboue the starrie skie,
2    And also yee,
     his Angels all,
armies royall,
     praise him with glee.
3    Praise him both Moone and Sunne,
     Which are so cleare and bright:
The same of you be done,
     Ye glittering starres of light,
4    And eke no lesse,
     Ye heauens faire,
And clouds of the aire,
     His laud expresse.
5    For at his word they were,
     All formed as we see:
At his voyce did appeare,
     All things in their degree:
6    Which he set fast:
     To them he made,
A law and trade,
     for aye to last.
7    Extoll and laud Gods name,
     On earth ye dragons fell:
All deepes doe ye the same,
     For it be commeth you well,
8    Him magnifie,
     Fire, haile, ice, snow,
And stormes that blow,
     at his decree.
9    The hills and mountaines all,
     And trees that fruitfull are:
The Cedars great and tall,
     His worthy praise declare,
10    Beasts and cattell,
     Ye birds flying,
And wormes creeping,
     That on earth dwell.
11    All kings both more and lesse,
     With all their pompous traine:
Princes and all Iudges,
     That in the world remaine,
12    Exalt his name,
     Yong men and maides,
Old men and babes
     Doe ye the same,
13    For his name shall we prooue,
     To be most excellent:
Whose praise is farre aboue
     The earth and firmament,
14    For sure he shall,
     Exalt with blisse,
The horne of his,
     And helpe them all.
15    His Saints all shall forth tell
     His praise and worthinesse,
The children of Israel,
     Each one both more and lesse:
16    and also they that with good will
     His words fulfill
And them obey.
Ad te Domine. Psal. xxv. T.S.
Dauid grieued at his sinne and malicious enemies, most feruently prayeth forgiuenesse, especially of such sinnes as he committed in his youth.
I Lift mine heart to thee,
     my God and guide most iust.
Now suffer me to take no shame,
     for in thee doe I trust.
Let not my fous reioyce,
     nor make a scorne of mee:
And let them not be ouerthrowne,
     that put their trust in thee.
3    But shame shall them befall,
     which harme them wrongfully:
Therefore thy paths and thy right wayes
     vnto me Lord descry.
4    Direct me in thy trueth,
     and teach me I thee pray:
Thou art by God and Sauiour,
     on thee I waite alway.
5    Thy mercies manifold
     I pray thee Lord remember:
And eke thy pitie plentifull,
     for they haue beene for euer.
6    Remember not the faults,
     and frailty of my youth:
Remember not how ignorant
     I haue beene of thy truth.
Not after my deserts
     let mee thy mercy finde:
But of thyne owne benignitie
     Lord haue mee in thy minde.
7    His mercie is full sweet,
     his trueth a perfect guide:
Therefore the Lord will sinners teach
     and such as goe aside.
8    The humble he will teach
     his precepts for to keepe:
He will direct in all his wayes
     the lowly and the meeke.
9    For all the wayes of God
     are trueth and mercie both,
To them that keepe his testament,
     the witnesse of his troth.

The second part.
10 Now for thy holy Name,
     O Lord I thee intreat:
To grant me pardon for my sinne,
     for it is wondrous great.
11    Who so doth feare the Lord,
     the Lord doth him direct:
To leade his life in such away,
     as he doth best accept.
12    His soule shall euermore,
     in goodnesse dwell and stand:
His seede and his posterity,
     inherit shall the land.
13    All those that feare the Lord,
     know his secret intent:
And vnto them he doth declare,
     his Will and Testament.
14    Mine eyes and eke my heart,
     to him I will aduance:
That pluckt my feet out of the snare,
     of sinne and ignorance:
15    With mercie me behold,
     to thee I make my mone:
For I am poore and desolate,
     and comfortlesse alone.
16    The troubles of my heart,
     are multiplied indeed:
Bring me out of this miserie,
     necessitie and need.
17    Behold my pouertie,
     mine anguish and my plaine:
Remit my sinne and mine offence,
     and make me cleane againe.
18    O Lord, behold my foes,
     how they doe still increase:
Pursuing me with deadly hate,
     that faine would liue in peace.
19    Preserue and keepe my soule,
     and eke deliuer me:
And let me not be ouerthrowne,
     because I trust in thee.
20    Let my simple purenesse,
     me from mine enemies shend
Because I looke as one of thine,
     that thou shouldst me defend:
21    Deliver Lord thy folke,
     and send them some reliefe:
I meane thy chosen Israel,
     from all their paine and griefe.
Dixi custodiam. Psal. xxxix. I.H.
Dauid hauing determined silence, yet brast forth into vvords that he vvould not, through his bitter griefe. For he maketh certaine requests, vvhich taste of mans infirmities, yet mexed vvith many prayers, and all to shevv a minde vvonderfully troubled, that it might appeare hovv he did striue mightily against death and despereation.
I Sayd I will looke to my wayes
     for feare I should goe wrong:
I will take heede all times that I
     offend not in my tongue
2    As with a bit I will keepe fast
     my mouth with force and might
Not once to whisper all the while
     the wicked are in sight.
3    I held my tongue, and spake no word,
     but kept me close and still:
Yea from good talke I did refraine,
     but sore against my will.
4    My heart waxt hot within my breast,
     with musing, thought, and doubt:
Which did increase and stirre the fire,
     at last these wordes brust out.
5    Lord number out my life and dayes
     which yet I hue not past:
So that I may be certified
     how long my life shall last.
6    Lord thou hast pointed out my life
     in length much like a span
Mine age is nothing vnto thee,
     so vaine is euery man.
7    Man walketh like a shade, and doth
     in vaine himselfe annoy:
In getting goods and cannot tell
     who shall the same enioy.
8    Now Lord sith thing this wise doe frame,
     what helpe doe I desire?
Of trueth my helpe doth hang on thee,
     I nothing els require.

The second part.
9    From all the sinnes that I haue adone,
     Lord quite mee out of hand:
And make mee not a scorne to fooles,
     that nothing vnderstand.
10    I was as dumbe, and to complaine,
     no trouble might mee mooue:
Because I knew it was thy worke,
     my patience for to proue.
11    Lord take from mee thy scourge and plague
     I can them not withstand:
I faint and pine away, for feare,
     of the most heauie hand.
12    When thou for sinne doest man rebuke
     he waxed wo and wan:
As doth a cloth that mothes haue fret,
     so vaine a thing is man.
13    Lord heare my suite & giue good heede
     regard my eares that fall:
I soiourne like a stranger here,
     as did my fathers all.
14    O spare a little, giue me space,
     my strength for to restore:
Before I goe away from hence,
     and shall be seene no more.
Dilexi quoniam. Psal. Cxvj. N.
Dauid, being in great danger of Saul in the desart of Maon, perceiuing the great and insestimable loue of God tovvards him, magnifieth such great mercies, and protesteth that he vvill be thankefull for the same.
I Loue the Lord, because my voyce
     and prayer heard hath he:
2    When in my dayes I cald to him,
     he bowed his eare to me.
3    Euen when the snares of cruell death
     about beset me round:
When paines of hell me caught and when
     I woe and sorrow found.
4    Vpon the name of God the Lord,
     then did I call and say:
Deliuer thou my soule O Lord,
     Idoe thee humbly pray.
5    The Lord is very mercifull,
     and iust he is also:
And in our God compassion
     doth plentifully flow.
6    The Lord in safety doth preserue
     all those that simple be:
I was in wofull miserie
     and he relieued me.
7    And now my soule, sith thou art safe
     reutrne vnto thy rest:
For largely loe the Lord to thee
     his bounty hath exprest.
8    Because thou hast deliuered
     my soule from deadly thrall:
My moistened eyes from mourneful teares,
     my sliding feete from fall.
9    Before the Lord I in the land
     of life will walke therefore:
10    I did beleeue, therefore I spake,
     for I was troubled sore.

The second part.
11    I said in my distresse and feare,
     that all men lyars be:
12.    What shall I pay the Lord for all
     his benefits to me?
13    The wholsome cup of sauing health
     I thankefully will take:
And on the Lords name I will call
     when I my prayer make.
14    I to the Lord will pay the vowes,
     that I haue him behight:
Yea, euen at this present time,
     in all his peoples sight.
15    Right deare and precious in his sight
     the Lord doth aye esteeme
The death of all his holy ones
     what euer men do deeme.
16    Thy seruant Lord, the seruant loe
     I doe my selfe confesse:
Sonne of thy handmaid, thou hast broke
     the bonds of my distresse.
17    And I will offer vp to thee
     a sacrifice of prayse,
And I will call vpon the name
     of God the Lord alwayes.
18    I to the Lord will pay the vowes,
     that I haue him behight:
Yea, euen at this present time,
     in all his peoples sight.
19    Yea, in the courts of Gods owne house
     and in the midst of thee,
O thou Ierusalem, I say:
     wherefore the Lord praise yee.
Laudate pueri, Psal. Cxiij. W.K.
An exhortation to prayse the Lord for his prouidence, in that contrary to the course of nature he vvorketh in his Church.
Ye children which doe serue the Lord,
     prayse ye his name with one accord,
     yea, blessed be alwayes his name:
Who from the rising of the Sunne,
     till it returne where it begunne
     is to be praysed with great fame.
The Lord all people doth surmount:
     As for his glory wee may count,
     Aboue the heauens high to be,
With God the Lord who may compare
     whose dwelling in the heauens are?
     of such great power and force is he.
6    He doth abase himselfe we know
     Things to behold doth heare below,
     And also in heauen aboue.
7    The needle out of dust to draw,
     And eke the poore which helpe none saw
     his onely mercy did him mooue.
8    And so him set in high degree
     With princes of great dignitie,
     that rule his people with great fame.
9    The barren he doth make to beare,
     And with great ioy her fruite to reare:
     therefore prayse ye his holy name.
Saluum me fac. Psal. xij. T.S.
The Prophet seeing the miserable decay of all good order, desireth God speedily to send reformation. Then comforted vvith the assurance of Gods helpe and promises, concludeth that vvhen al orders are most corrupted, then God vvill deliver his.
Helpe Lord, for good and godly men
     doe perish and decay,
And faith and trueth from worldly men,
     is parted cleane away.
2    Who so doth with his neighbour talke,
     his talke is all but vaine:
For euery man he thinketh how
     to flatter, lie, and faine.
3    But flattering and deceitfull lips,
     and tongues that be so stout,
To speake proud words & make great brags,
     the Lord soone cuts them out.
4    For they say still, we will preuaile,
     our tongues shall vs extoll:
Our tongues are ours, we ought to speake,
     what Lord shall vs controll?
5    But for the great complaint and cry
     of poore men and opprest,
Arise will I, now saith the Lord,
     and them restore to rest.
6    Gods word is like to siluer pure,
     that from the earth is tride:
And hath no lesse then seuen times
     in fire bene purified.
7    Now since thy promise is to helpe,
     Lord keepe thy promise then:
And saue vs now and euermore
     from this ill kinde of men.
8    For now this wicked world is full
     of mischiefes manifold,
When vanity with mortall men
     so highly is extold
 

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