1 Lord, Thou hast been thy people’s rest
Through all their generations,
Their refuge when by danger prest,
Their hope in tribulations;
Thou, ere the mountains sprang to birth,
Or ever Thou hadst form'd the earth,
Art God from everlasting.
2 The sons of men return to clay,
When Thou the word hast spoken,
As with a torrent borne away,
Gone like a dream when broken:
A thousand years are, in thy sight,
But as a watch amid the night,
Or yesterday departed.
3 At morn, we flourish like the grass
With dew and sunbeams lighted,
But ere the cool of evening pass,
The rich array is blighted:
Thus do thy chastisements consume
Youth's tender leaf and beauty's bloom;
We fade at thy displeasure.
4 Our life is like the transient breath
That tells a mournful story,
Early or late, stopt short by death;
And where is all our glory?
Our days are threescore years and ten,
And if the span be lengthen'd then,
Their strength is toil and sorrow.
5 Lo, Thou hast set before thine eyes
All our misdeeds and errors;
Our secret sins from darkness rise,
At thine awakening terrors:
Who shall abide the trying hour?
Who knows the thunder of thy power?
We flee unto thy mercy.
6 Lord, teach us so to mark our days,
That we may prize them duly;
So guide our feet in Wisdom's ways,
That we may love Thee truly:
Return, O Lord, our griefs behold,
And with thy goodness, as of old,
O satisfy us early.
7 Restore our comforts as our fears,
Our joy as our affliction;
Give to thy Church, through changing years,
Thy glorious beauty there reveal,
And with thy perfect image seal
Thy servants and their labours.
—Songs of Zion, Being Imitations of Psalms, 1822