Tune: Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second, 1813
Alto: Wilson Marion Cooper, 1902
Lyrics: Hannah More
Meter: 11s (11,11,11,11)
While beauty and youth are in their full prime,
And folly and fashion affect their whole time,
O let not the phantom our wishes engage,
Let us live so in youth that we blush not in age.
The vain and the young may attend us awhile,
But let not their flatt’ry our prudence beguile;
Let us covet those charms that shall never decay,
Nor listen to all that deceivers can say.
I sigh not for beauty nor languish for wealth,
But grant me, kind Providence, virtue and health;
Then, richer than kings, and far happier than they
My days shall pass swiftly and sweetly away.
For when age steals on me and youth is no more,
And the moralist Time shakes his glass at my door,
What pleasure in beauty or wealth can I find?
My beauty, my wealth, is a sweet peace of mind.
That peace! I’ll preserve it as pure as ‘twas giv’n,
Shall last in my bosom an earnest of heav’n;
For virtue and wisdom can warm the cold scene,
And sixty can flourish as gay as sixteen.
And when I the burden of life shall have borne,
And Death with his sickle shall cut the ripe corn;
Reascend to my God without murmur or sigh,
I’ll bless the kind summons, and lie down and die.