POETRY: Rochester Extempore by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Rochester Extempore by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Help, Lord; for the Godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.  They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.  The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:  Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?  For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.  The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of Earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.  The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. (Psalm 12:1-8)

And after singing, Psalm the Twelfth,
He laid his book upon the shelf
And looked much simply like himself;
With eyes turned up, as white as ghost,
He cried, “Ah Lard! ah, Lard of Hosts!
I am a rascal, that thou knowst!”

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