O Thou, the first, the greatest friend
Of all the human race!
Whose strong right hand has ever been
Their stay and dwelling place!
Before the mountains heaved their heads
Beneath Thy forming hand;
Before this ponderous globe itself
Arose at Thy command;
That power which raised, and still upholds
This universal frame,
From countless, unbeginning time,
Was ever still the same.
Those mighty periods of years,
Which seem to us so vast,
Appear no more before Thy sight,
Than yesterday that’s past.
Thou giv’st the word: Thy creature, man,
Is to existence brought;
Again Thou say’st,
Ye sons of men,
Return ye into nought!
Thou layest them, with all their cares,
In everlasting sleep;
As with a flood Thou tak’st them off
With overwhelming sweep.
They flourish like the morning flower,
In beauty’s pride arrayed;
But long ere night cut down it lies
All withered and decayed.