The first Lamentation.
ALas, how doth the citie [Jerusalem] re∣maine so solitarie and desolate, that sometime was full of people? How is she become like a widowe? How is she brought vnder tribute, that was great among the nations, & ruled the lands and prouinces as princesse?
She weepeth sore continuallie in the night, and the teares run downe by hir cheekes: [so that shée taketh no rest.] For among all hir louers she hath none to com∣fort hir, yea all hir next friends trangresse against hir, and haue dealt vnfaithfullie with hir, and are become hir enimies.
Iuda is caried away captiue, bicause of [hir crueltie] affliction and great bondage, or seruitude, [and oppressi∣on of their seruants, and the poore:] she dwelleth [now] among the heathen, and findeth no rest: all hir persecutours tooke hir in the strait places, where shee could not es∣cape.
Page 25 The waies and streets of Zion mourne and lament, bicause no man commeth anie more [with mirth and ioie as they were woont] to the solemne feasts: all hir gates are desolate: hir priests sigh and make lamentation: hir virgins are discomfited, hir maides are carefull, and she hir selfe is in great heauinesse.
Hir aduersaries are the chiefe [rulers ouer hir,] and hir enimies prosper. For the Lord hath chastened and afflicted hir for hir great wickednesse, and hir children are gone into captiuitie before the enimie, for the mul∣titude of hir transgressions.
And from the daughter of Zion all hir beautie is gone and departed, hir princes are become like harts that finde no pasture, [euen as men pined awaie with sorowe, and haue no courage,] and they are driuen awaie, and gone without strength before the enimie and pursuer, so that they haue no more power.
Now Ierusalem remembred, in the time of hir mi∣serie and affliction, bare estate and rebellion, all hir toie and pleasure that she hath had in times past: see∣ing hir people is brought downe vnder the power of the enimie, and there is no man for the helpe hir. The enimies stand looking at hir, and laugh and mocke hir Sabboth daies [that is, hir Religion and seruing of God,] to scorne.
Ierusalem hath greeuouslie sinned, therefore is she come in decaie, and had in derision: all they that had hir in honour [now] despise hir, because they haue seene hir filthinesse: yea she sigheth and turneth backward, as she that is ashamed of hir selfe.
Hir filthinesse is in hir skirts [and manifest,] yet she [was not ashamed of hir sinne, nor] remembred hir last end: therefore is hir downe-fall so woonderfull, and there is no man to comfort hir. O Lord, behold mine afflicti∣on, and consider my trouble, for mine enimie hath the vpper hand, and hath proudlie magnified himselfe.
Page 26 The enimie hath put his hand to all the pretious things that she had: yea euen before hir eies came the heathen, and entred in and out of hir Sanctuarie, whome thou (neuerthelesse) didst command and for∣bid to come within thy Church and congregation.
All hir people sigh, and seeke their bread with heaui∣nesse: and looke what pretious or pleasant thing euerie man hath, that giueth he for meate to saue his life, and refresh his soule. Consider O Lord, and see, how vile I am become.
Haue ye no regard [to pitie me] all yee that passe by this waie? Behold and see, if there be anie sorowe like vnto mine, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted or trou∣bled me, in the day of his fierce and fearefull wrath, [and learnc to beware by mine example.]
From aboue hath he [euen GOD] sent downe a fire into my bones, which preuaileth and burneth them cruellie: he hath spred or laid a net for my feete, turned me backe, and throwne me wide open: he hath made me desolate, so that I am dailie in heauines, and must euer be mourning.
The yoke of my transgressions is bound fast to [God] his hand, they are wrapped or wreathen, and come vp vpon my necke, [so that by no meanes it can be shaken off, or remitted, but onlie of his speciall grace and mercie.] He hath made my strength to faile: the Lord hath deliuered me into their hands, neither am I able to rise vp, and quit my selfe from them [that haue me in bondage.]
The Lord hath troden vnder foote, and destroied all my valiant and mightie men, that were in the middes of me: he hath proclauned an appointed time, and cal∣led an assemblie to slaughter and destroie all my best yoong men. The Lord hath troden downe the virgin, the daughter of Iuda, like as it were [grapes] in a wine-presse.
Therefore do I weepe, and mine eies, euen mine eies Page 27 gush out with water, because the comforter that should quicken me and refresh my soule, is far from me. My children are driuen awaie and desolate. And why? Because the enimie hath gotten the vpper hand, and preuailed.
Zion casteth out hir hands, and there is none to comfort hir: the Lord hath laid the enimies of Iacob round about him, and Ierusalem is as a menstruous woman, [who for hir pollution, is separate from hir husband,] and is become abhomination in the middest of them.
The Lord is righteous, for I haue rebelled against his commandements, & prouoked his countenance to anger. O heare I praie you, and take heede all ye peo∣ple, behold my sorowe, and consider my heauinesse: my virgins, my maidens, and my yong men are led awaie [prisoners, and] gone into captiuitie.
I called for my louers, but they deceiued me: for my priests and counsellers, but they perished [and died for hunger] in the Citie, euen whiles they sought for meate to saue their liues, and refresh their soules.
Behold, O Lord, and consider how I am troubled, my bowels swell, my wombe is disquieted, my hart turneth about within me, and I am full of heauinesse, because I rebelled stubbornelie: the sword spoileth me abroade, as death doth at home.
They heare my mourning, but there is none that will comfort me: all mine enimies haue heard of my trouble, and are glad thereof, because thou hast done it: [but] thou wilt bring forth the daie and time that thou hast pronounced, and calledst, when they also shall be like vnto me.
Let all their wickednesse come before thee, and do thou vnto them, as thou hast done vnto me for all my transgressions and trespasses. For my sorowe is verie great, my sighes are manie, and mine hart is heauie.