Scripture Verse

I would not live alway…for my days are vanity. Job 7:16


Words: Will­iam A. Mühl­en­berg, cir­ca 1824. This hymn was sung by com­bined choirs from sev­er­al church­es on De­cem­ber 22, 1867, at the Ex­change Street train de­pot in Buf­fa­lo, New York, dur­ing a mem­or­ial ser­vice for vic­tims of the An­go­la Hor­ror, a train wreck at An­go­la, New York (Am­er­i­can His­to­ry, vol­ume 42, num­ber 6, Feb­ru­a­ry 2008, page 58).

Music: Fred­er­ick George Kings­ley, 1833 (🔊 pdf nwc).

William A. Mühlenberg


I would not live alway;
I ask not to stay
Where storm after storm
Rises dark o’er the way;
The few lurid mornings
That dawn on us here
Are enough for life’s woes,
Full enough for its cheer.

I would not live alway,
Thus fettered by sin;
Temptation without,
And corruption within;
E’en the rapture of pardon
Is mingled with fears,
And the cup of thanksgiving
With penitent tears.

I would not live alway;
No, welcome the tomb:
Since Jesus hath lain there,
I dread not its gloom;
There sweet be my rest,
Till He bid me arise
To hail Him in triumph
Descending the skies.

Who, who would live alway,
Away from his God,
Away from yon Heaven,
That blissful abode,
Where the rivers of pleasure
Flow o’er the bright plains,
And the noontide of glory
Eternally reigns;

Where the saints of all ages
In harmony meet,
Their Savior and brethren,
Transported, to greet;
While the anthems of rapture
Unceasingly roll,
And the smile of the Lord
Is the feast of the soul?