1 Almighty Lord, e'er since the world began,
Great hath been thy beneficence to man;
E'er since this earth first run her annual round,
In thee her thankless sons defence have found.
2 Still thou'rt the same, and ever wast the same,
Ere yet the world assum'd this beauteous frame,
Ere yet the high, the lofty hills appear'd;
Ere yet the glad'ning day gay mortals chear'd;
Ere spread dun night her horrors all abroad,
Thou art the same, the everlasting God.
3 But thou hast giv'n short space to man on earth;
Soon fleet the winged minutes from his birth
To that dark hour, when all his schemes are vain,
And to his parent-dust he goes again.
4 'Fore thee glide swift a thousand years away;
To thee they seem a fleeting winter's day;
Sudden they pass, and strait no more are seen,
And leave no trace, to tell us, they have been.
5 They roll impetuous like a rapid stream;
Insensibly they leave us like a dream;
Well to the grass we may our lives compare;
6 The grass that looks at morn so fresh, so fair,
That with it's verdant spires enchants the sight,
But hangs the head, and withers ere 'tis night.
7 Yet not with life's short period we're distrest,
As when thy dreadful anger strikes the breast;
8 For whate'er errors in our bosoms roll,
Whate'er base pass9ons hold in chains the soul,
Howe'er conceal'd, or kept from open day,
Does thy all-seeing eye, O God, survey;
9 And while thy vengeance strikes us with despair,
Swifter than thought, life vanishes to air.
10 For sev'nty years while goes his rounds the sun,
To man 'tis giv'n his stated course to run;
Haply his strength holds cut ten winters more;
But then all solid joys of life are o'er;
On feeble age unnumber'd cares attend,
Unnumber'd griefs that but with life shall end;
11 And, if our God strict justice shou'd demand,
Ah! who can bear his dread avenging hand?
12 Teach us our short-liv'd period to discern,
That we the road, to heav'n, to bliss may learn;
13 Benign O hear us, and thine anger cease;
Return, O Lord, and calm our souls to peace.
14 O let thy mercy fill our hearts with joy,
That our remaining hours we may employ
15 In peaceful scenes, devoid of griefs, of fears,
Free from the mis'ries of our former years.
16 Thy glorious works, the wonders of thy pow'r,
Shew to thy servants, that they may adore;
And, that their off-spring may thy laws obey,
Thy great, thy awful attributes, display.
17 And let, O God, thy clemency divine
With happy influence on thy chosen shine,
That ev'ry action of our life may prove,
Thy grace directs us, prospers us thy love.