Psalm 1

Words: King James I,  c1631

It is little known that King James I tried his hand at creating metrical versions of the Psalms. He even attempted to have his versions adopted by the churches. This sample should serve to illustrate one reason why the churches resisted his effort: (original spelling retained)

   1. That mortal man most happy is and blest
      Who in the wickeds counsals doth not walk,
      nor zit in sinners wayis doth stay and rest,
      Nor sittis in seatis of skornfull men in talk,
         2. Bot contrair fixis his delicht
               Into Jehouas law
            And on his law, both dan and nicht
               To think is neuer slaw.
   3. He salbe lyk a pleasant plantit tree,
      Vpon a reurer syde incressing tal,
      That yieldis his frute in saison dew, se see;
      Whose plesant leif doth neuer fade nor fal.
            Now this is surely for to say
               That quhat he takis in hand,
            It sal wighoutin doute alway
               Most prosperously stand.
   4. Bot wickit men ar nowayis of that band;
      But as the caffe quhinch be the wind is tost;
   5. Thairfor they sall not in that iugement stand
      nor yett amont the iust be sinners lost.
         6. For gret Jehoua cleirly knowis
               The iust mens way vpricht
            But sure the widkeds way that throwis
               Sall perish be his micht.

The British Museum has a manuscript in King James own hand that contains paraphrases of some 30 of the Psalms plus Eccl 12, the "Lord's Prayer" and the Song of Moses. This sample is from "History of the Scottish Metrical Psalms" by J.W.MacMeeken, 1872.

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Page last modified on: 07/29/2004