Scripture Verse

I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? Ecclesiastes 2:2


Luther O. Emerson

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 1, num­ber 54. Van­i­ty of life.

Music: As­crip­tion Lu­ther O. Em­er­son, 1866 (🔊 pdf nwc).

John Newton


The ev­ils that be­set our path
Who can pre­vent or cure?
We stand up­on the brink of death
When most we seem se­cure.

If we to­day sweet peace pos­sess,
It soon may be with­drawn;
Some change may plunge us in dis­tress,
Before to­mor­row’s dawn.

Disease and pain in­vade our health
And find an ea­sy prey;
And oft, when least ex­pect­ed, wealth
Takes wings and flies away.

A fe­ver or a blow can shake
Our wis­dom’s boast­ed rule;
And of the bright­est ge­ni­us make
A mad­man or a fool.

The gourds, from which we look for fruit,
Produce us on­ly pain;
A worm un­seen at­tacks the root,
And all our hopes are vain.

I pi­ty those who seek no more
Than such a world can give;
Wretched they are, and blind, and poor,
And dy­ing while they live.

Since sin has filled the earth with woe,
And crea­tures fade and die;
Lord wean our hearts from things be­low,
And fix our hopes on high.