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 >
Lord, what a feeble piece. I. Watts. [Psalms xc.] His S.M. version of Psalms xc., which appeared in his Psalms of David, 1719, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "The Frailty and Shortness of Life." In Martineau's Hymns, &c, 1840 and 1873, it is given as "Lord, what a fleeting breath"; and in the Leeds Hymn Book, 1853, as "Lord, make us know how frail."
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)