Poem based on Psalm 90
Man Mortal, and God Eternal
Through every age, eternal God,
Thou art our rest, our safe abode;
High was thy throne ere heav’n was made,
Or earth thy humble footstool laid.
Long hadst thou reigned ere time began,
Or dust was fashioned to a man;
And long thy kingdom shall endure
When earth and time shall be no more.
But man, weak man, is born to die,
Made up of guilt and vanity;
Thy dreadful sentence, Lord, was just,
“Return, ye sinners, to your dust.”
[A thousand of our years amount
Scarce to a day in thine account;
Like yesterday’s departed light,
Or the last watch of ending night.
Death, like an overflowing stream,
Sweeps us away; our life’s a dream,
An empty tale, a morning flower,
Cut down and withered in an hour.]
[Our age to seventy years is set;
How short the time! how frail the state!
And if to eighty we arrive,
We rather sigh and groan than live.
But O how oft thy wrath appears,
And cuts off our expected years!
Thy wrath awakes our humble dread;
We fear the power that strikes us dead.]
Teach us, O Lord, how frail is man;
And kindly lengthen out our span,
Till a wise care of piety
Fit us to die, and dwell with thee.