1 Eternal mind, who rules the fates
Of dying realms and rising states,
With one unchanged decree,
While we admire Thy vast affairs,
Say, can our little trifling cares
Afford a smile to Thee?
2 Thou scatter honors, crowns, and gold;
We fly to seize, and fight to hold
The bubbles and the oar:
So emmets struggle for a grain;
So boys their petty wars maintain
For shells upon the shore.
3 Here a vain man his scepter breaks,
The next a broken scepter takes,
And warriors win and lose;
This rolling world will never stand
Plundered and snatched from hand to hand,
As power decays or grows.
4 Earth’s but an atom: greedy swords
Carve it amongst a thousand lords,
And yet they can’t agree;
Let greedy swords still fight and slay,
I can be poor; but Lord, I pray
To sit and smile with Thee.
Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >