This night thy soul shall be required of thee.@Luke 12:20

San­ford M. Brown, in Song­land Me­lo­dies, ed­it­ed by Hor­ace N. Lin­coln (Dal­las, Tex­as: Song­land Com­pa­ny, 1898) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Two young men, who had been brought up to­ge­ther in a dis­tant state, came to Kan­sas Ci­ty to get a start in the world. They were em­ployed in la­bor­ing on the piers of one of the great rail­road bridg­es on the Mis­sou­ri Ri­ver.

An ac­ci­dent oc­curred in which sev­er­al men were in­jured. Among them was one of these young men, who was fa­tal­ly crushed. He was ta­ken in­to one of the tents in which the la­bor­ers were liv­ing, and be­ing con­scious, he was told by the phy­si­cian that he could live on­ly a few hours. He re­quest­ed his com­pan­ion to pray with him, and stated that he was not pre­pared to die.

His friend as­sured him that he did not pray for him­self and was not fit to pray for a dy­ing man. Then he asked that a song might be sung, but was again as­sured by his friend that he knew no song ap­pro­pr­i­ate to an oc­ca­sion like that. Fin­al­ly he begged that a Bi­ble might be brought and a few vers­es read to him be­fore he died.

The tents and cabins were searched, and there was not a copy of the word of God to be found, and so, among his last words the dy­ing man ex­claimed: And is it pos­si­ble that away from home and with­out a pray­er, a song, or a verse of Scrip­ture, I am to be ush­ered in­to the pre­sence of God un­pre­pared?

Companion, draw nigh, they say I must die;
Early the summons has come from on high;
The way is so dark, and yet I must go!
Oh! that such sorrow you never may know!

Refrain

Only a prayer, only a tear,
O if sister and mother were here;
Only a song, ’twill comfort and cheer,
Only a word from that Book so dear.

Ah! can you not bow and pray with me now?
Sad the regret, we have never learned how
To come before Him, who only can save,
Leading in triumph thro’ death and the grave.

Refrain

And can you not sing a song of His love,
How He came down from the mansions above,
To bleed and to die on Calvary’s tree,
Bringing salvation to sinners like me?

Refrain

Alas! it is so, but thus it must be;
No word of comfort or promise for me;
To die without God or hope in His Son,
Covered in darkness, bereaved and undone.

Refrain

O people of God, who have His blest Word,
Will you not heed the command of your Lord?
And publish to all of Adam’s lost race
Pardon, forgiveness, salvation thro’ grace?

Refrain