Scripture Verse

The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot. Proverbs 10:7


John Bowring
© National Portrait Gallery

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.

Music: Roth­well (Tan­s’ur) Will­iam Tan­s’ur, 1754 (re­peats the last line of each verse) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

William Tans’ur


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.