Psalm 3

The first verse does not sound right to me. But I’m out of ideas for improving it.

I’ve metricized this psalm for a particular tune: Christ Lag in Todesbunden, harmonized by J. S. Bach.  It’s the tune for one of Luther’s great hymns, “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” (trans. Richard Massie).  The tune and text together make a grand Easter song, and Bach later made a cantata out of it.  I wanted some of the strength and vigor of the original to come over into this rendering of Psalm 3 as well.

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Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are the ways
The world and flesh distress me.
There is no help in God, they say,
And daily they oppress me.
Who shall help and strengthen me?
Is not our God and Savior he?
O Lord, our shield and glory:

O cry unto the Lord, my soul,
And tell him all thy trouble.
From every harm of earth or hell
He shall defend thee double.
The Lord, he is thy spear and sword,
Thy blessing and thy great reward:
He is thy shield and glory.

Let thousand thousand hosts surround
And threaten to undo thee:
Behold, they stand on holy ground,
And God hath heard thee truly.
Give no place to fear or dread,
The Lord hath lifted up thy head:
He is thy shield and glory.

Arise O Lord and rescue me
From this great present evil.
My shelter and salvation be
From world and flesh and devil.
Raise me up with those on high
Who shout for victory and cry
“O Lord, our shield and glory,


About middlingpoet

From the Gawain poet to Rainer Maria Rilke: I love traditional poetry.
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