Scripture Verse

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


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

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Brown (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


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!


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.


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?


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.


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?