[From Mona's Isle, 1844]


I’VE ofttimes thought why mortal man,
Whose fleeting life is but a span
Of vast eternity,
Should strive his brother to oppress
While trav’lling through this wilderness
Of dread obscurity.

In ages past, when we were not,
Our foresires lived, tho’ now forgot
Within their lowly bed,
And so shall we, as well as they,
Each in our turn soon pass away
To moulder with the dead.

Then, brothers, while we travel here,
Let us the common blessings share,
And banish sordid gain;
It is the fount of earthly joy
Man’s fleeting moments to employ
To ease his brother’s pain.

All that weak man requires below
His Maker kindly doth bestow,
And gives it free to all,—
The fish, the fowl, the beast, the field,
Abundant food for him doth yield
At labour’.s simple call.

Then why should not mankind unite
To help each other with delight
Along life’s dreary road,
And drive Oppression’s iron hand
From ev’ry realm throughout the land
Of our terrene abode?

How better far mankind might be
If they the bad effects would see
Of ill-begotten wealth,
For, to accumulate a store
Unjustly of the glittering ore
Is worse than craft, or stealth.

O Man ! reflect on what thou art,
And let not pride deceive thy heart,
For here below poor mortals are
Dependant on their Maker’s care.

To travel onwards is our doom
With rapid strides towards the tomb,
The space between our life and death
Is measured only by a breath!

Such is the fate of all mankind,
For no exception canst thou find,
The present time is all that can
Be truly çall’d the life of man!

Then what we now enjoy is all,
As what is past we can’t recall,
And what’s to come is future’s own,
A thing uncertain, and unknown.

Yet future hope, Man’s certain friend
When based on Christ as aim and end,
Will cheer him thro’ life’s thorny road,
Whilst struggling on to meet his God.


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000