Scripture Verse

Can the rush grow up without mire? Can the flag grow without water? Job 8:11

Introduction

portrait
William Croft
1678–1727

Words: Au­thor un­known, be­fore 1746. Orig­in­al first line: Say, grows the rush with­out the mire?

Music: St. Anne Will­iam Croft, 1708 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Although some­times at­trib­ut­ed to Watts, to the pre­sent this hymn has not been traced to his works, and the ear­li­est date at which it has been found is in the Draft Scot­tish Trans­la­tions and Par­a­phras­es of 1745, No. xxiv.

Therein it is giv­en as a Par­a­phrase of Job viii. 11-22…in the au­tho­rized Trans. and Parphs. of 1781, No. vi…[it] is claimed for W. Cam­er­on…by his el­dest daugh­ter, in her list of au­thors and re­vis­ers.

Julian, p. 998

Lyrics

The rush may rise where waters flow,
And flags beside the stream;
But soon their verdure fades and dies
Before the scorching beam.

So is the sinner’s hope cut off;
Or, if it transient rise,
’Tis like the spider’s airy web,
From every breath that flies.

Fixed on his house, he leans; his house,
And all its props decay:
He holds it fast; but while he holds,
The tottering frame gives way.

Fair is his garden, to the sun
His boughs with verdure smile;
And, deeply fixed, his spreading roots
Unshaken stand a while.

But forth the sentence flies from Heaven,
That sweeps him from his place;
Which then denies him for its lord,
Nor owns it knew his face.

Lo! this the joy of wicked men,
Who Heaven’s high laws despise;
They quickly fall; and in their room,
As quickly others rise.

But, for the just, with gracious care,
God will His power employ;
He’ll teach their lips to sing His praise,
And fill their hearts with joy.