Scripture Verse

Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Psalm 39:4

Introduction

portrait
Isaac Watts
(1674–1748)

Words: Is­aac Watts, The Psalms of Da­vid 1719. The va­ni­ty of man as mor­tal.

Music: St. Fla­vi­an Day’s Psal­ter, 1563 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

  • Suffield, by King, in Se­lect Har­mo­ny, by An­drew Law (1748–1821) (New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut: 1779) (🔊 pdf nwc)

Lyrics

Teach me the measure of my days,
Thou Maker of my frame;
I would survey life’s narrow space,
And learn how frail I am.

A span is all that we can boast,
An inch or two of time;
Man is but vanity and dust
In all his flower and prime.

See the vain race of mortals move
Like shadows o’er the plain;
They rage and strive, desire and love,
But all the noise is vain.

Some walk in honor’s gaudy show,
Some dig for golden ore;
They toil for heirs they know not who,
And straight are seen no more.

What should I wish or wait for then,
From creatures, earth and dust?
They make our expectations vain,
And disappoint our trust.

Now I forbid my carnal hope,
My fond desires recall;
I give my mortal interest up,
And make my God my all.