Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.
The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.
Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.
Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.
Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.
-Isaac Watts (1719)