Psalm 58

Warning to Magistrates

Judges, who rule the world by laws,
Will ye despise the righteous cause,
   When th’injur’d poor before you stands?
Dare ye condemn the righteous poor,
And let rich sinners ’scape secure,
   While gold and greatness bribe your hands?

Have ye forgot or never knew
That God will judge the judges too?
   High in the Heavens his justice reigns;
Yet you invade the rights of God,
And send your bold decrees abroad
   To bind the conscience in your chains.

A poisoned arrow is your tongue,
The arrow sharp, the poison strong,
   And death attends where e’er it wounds:
You hear no counsels, cries or tears;
So the deaf adder stops her ears
   Against the power of charming sounds.

Break out their teeth, eternal God,
Those teeth of lions dyed in blood;
   And crush the serpents in the dust:
As empty chaff, when whirlwinds rise,
Before the sweeping tempest flies,
   So let their hopes and names be lost.

Th’Almighty thunders from the sky,
Their grandeur melts, their titles die,
   As hills of snow dissolve and run,
Or snails that perish in their slime,
Or births that come before their time,
   Vain births, that never see the sun.

Thus shall the vengeance of the Lord
Safety and joy to saints afford;
   And all that hear shall join and say,
“Sure there’s a God that rules on high,
“A God that hears his children cry,
   “And will their sufferings well repay.”

More Poems by Isaac Watts