1. Why should I fear in evil days,
With snares encompassed all around?
What trust can transient treasures raise
For them in riches who abound?
His brother who from death can save?
What wealth can ransom him from God?
What mine of gold defraud the grave?
What hoards but vanish at His nod?
2. To live forever is their dream;
Their houses by their name they call;
While, borne by time’s relentless stream,
Around them wise and foolish fall;
Their riches others must divide;
They plant, but others reap the fruit;
In honor man cannot abide,
To death devoted, like the brute.
3. This is their folly, this their way;
And yet in this their sons delight;
Like sheep, of death the destined prey,
The future scorn of the upright;
The grave their beauty shall consume,
Their dwellings never see them more;
But God shall raise me from the tomb,
And life for endless time restore.
4. What though thy foe in wealth increase,
And fame and glory crown his head?
Fear not, for all at death shall cease,
Nor fame, nor glory, crown the dead:
While prospering all around thee smiled,
Yet to the grave shalt thou descend;
The senseless pride of fortune’s child
Shall share the brute creation’s end.
Adams, John Quincy. (Braintree, Mass., July 11, 1767-February 21, 1848, Washington, D.C.). Most of Adams' verse, both religious and secular, was written after he had left the Presidency. In his later years he composed a metrical version of the Psalms, best described as a free rendering in fairly good verse of what he felt was the essential idea of each Psalm. When his minister, William P. Lunt, of the First Parish, (Unitarian), Quincy, Mass., undertook the preparation of his hymn book The Christian Psalter, Mrs. Adams put the manuscript of her husband's metrical Psalms into Lunt's hands, and the latter included 17 of them in his book, and five other hymns by his distinguished parishioner.
The effect on Adams is recorded in a moving entr… Go to person page >