A Funeral Thought

Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound

Author: Isaac Watts
Published in 337 hymnals

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Representative Text

1 Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound!
My ears attend the cry:--
Ye living men! come view the ground
Where you must shortly lie.

2 Princes! this clay must be your bed,
In spite of all your towers;
The tall, the wise, the reverend head
Must lie as low as ours.

3 Great God! is this our certain doom?
And are we still secure?
Still walking downward to our tomb,
And yet prepare no more!

4 Grant us the powers of quickening grace
To fit our souls to fly;
Then, when we drop this dying flesh,
We'll rise above the sky.

Source: The Voice of Praise: a collection of hymns for the use of the Methodist Church #880

Author: Isaac Watts

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 >


Hark, from the tombs a doleful [warning] sound. I. Watts. [Burial.] first published in his Hymns & Sacred Songs, 1707 (edition 1709, Book ii., No. 63), in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled, "A Funeral Thought." Its use is mainly confined to America, where it is sometimes given as, “Hark, from the tombs a warning sound," as in the Baptist Praise Book, 1871.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


BANGOR (Tansur)

Traditionally used for Montgomery's text and for Peter Abelard's "Alone Thou Goest Forth, O Lord," BANGOR comes from William Tans'ur's A Compleat Melody: or the Harmony of Syon (the preface of which is dated 1734). In that collection the tune was a three-part setting for Psalm 12 (and for Psalm 11 i…

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The Cyber Hymnal #2363
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Philadelphia harmony: a collection of Psalm tunes, hymns, and anthems #5b
  • PDF (PDF)
  • MusicXML (Made with MuseScore) (XML)
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Instances (1 - 2 of 2)

The Cyber Hymnal #2363

The Sacred Harp #162

Include 335 pre-1979 instances
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