Scripture Verse

Remember your Creator while you are young, before the evil days come. Ecclesiastes 12:1

Introduction

portrait
Isaac Watts
(1674–1748)

Words: Is­aac Watts (1674–1748). We have been un­a­ble to de­ter­mine in which of Watts’ works this hymn first ap­peared. The ear­li­est pub­li­ca­tion where we have seen it is Tate and Brady’s 1760 New Ver­sion of the Psalms of Da­vid.

Music: Ab­er­deen pos­si­bly by An­drew Tait, in James Chal­mers’ un­ti­tled col­lect­ion, 1749; me­lo­dy from Ru­di­ments of Mu­sic, by Robert Brem­ner, 1756 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Tait (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?

Lyrics

Children, to your creator, God,
Your early honors pay,
While vanity and youthful blood
Would tempt your thoughts astray.

The memory of His mighty name,
Demands your first regard;
Nor dare indulge a meaner flame,
’Till you have loved the Lord.

Be wise, and make His favor sure,
Before the mournful days,
When youth and mirth are known no more,
And life and strength decays.

No more the blessings of a feast
Shall relish on the tongue.
The heavy ear forgets the taste
And pleasure of a song.

Old age with all her dismal train,
Invades your golden years
With sighs and groans, and raging pain,
And death that never spares.

What will you do when light departs,
And leaves your withering eyes,
Without one beam to cheer your hearts,
From the superior skies?

How will you meet God’s frowning brow,
Or stand before His seat,
While nature’s old supporters bow,
Nor bear their tottering weight?

Can you expect your feeble arms
Shall make a strong defense,
When death with terrible alarms,
Summons the prisoner hence?

The silver bands of nature burst;
And let the building fall;
The flesh goes down to mix with dust,
Its vile original.

Laden with guilt (a heavy load),
Uncleansed and unforgiv’n,
The soul returns t’an angry God,
To be shut out from Heav’n.