The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot. Proverbs 10:7
Words: John Bowring, in A Collection of Hymns for Public and Private Worship, by John Relly Beard (London: John Green, 1837), number 281. Note: Julian’s first edition, page 166, assigned an 1825 date to this hymn; he corrected the date in his second edition, page 1554.
The sentiment of the hymn is well illustrated by a magnificent statue of marble which once stood over the great gate of Cardinal Grenville’s house. In one hand the figure held a wine-cup, in the other an urn.
But the wine-cup was inverted and empty; the urn was erect, and overflowed with pure water from the hills. And on the pedestal for a motto was carved the single word, Durate, endure!
Robinson, p. 362
Earth’s transitory things decay,
Its pomps, its pleasures pass away;
But the sweet memory of the good
Survives in the vicissitude.
As ’midst the ever rolling sea,
The eternal isles established be,
’Gainst which the surges of the main
Fret, dash, and break themselves in vain—
As in the heavens, the urns divine,
Of golden light, for ever shine;
Though clouds may darken, storms may rage,
They still shine on from age to age—
So through the ocean tide of years,
The memory of the just appears;
So through the tempest and the gloom,
The good man’s virtues light the tomb.
Happy the righteous! come what may,
Though Heaven dissolve and earth decay;
Happy the righteous man! for he
Belongs to immortality.