All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. Job 34:15
Words: Isaac Watts, Horæ Lyricæ, 1706–09, Book 1, alt.
A sight of Heaven in sickness.
Oft have I sat in secret sighs
To feel my flesh decay;
Then groaned aloud with frighted eyes,
To view the tottering clay.
But I forbid my sorrows now,
Nor dares the flesh complain;
Diseases bring their profits, too;
The joy o’ercomes the pain.
My cheerful soul now all the day
Sits waiting here and sings;
Looks thro’ ruins of her clay,
And practices her wings.
Faith almost changes into sight,
While from afar she spies
Her fair inheritance, in light
Above created skies.
Had but the prison walls been strong
And firm, without a flaw,
In darkness she had dwelt too long
And less of glory saw.
But now the everlasting hills
Through every chink appear,
And something of the joy she feels
While she’s a prisoner here.
Bright Heaven rushes sweetly in
At all the gaping flaws;
Of endless bliss are visions seen;
And native air she draws.
O may these walls stand tottering still,
The breaches never close,
If I must here in darkness dwell,
And all this glory lose!
O rather let this flesh decay;
The ruins wider grow,
Till, glad to see th’enlargèd way,
I stretch my pinions through.