Days and moments quickly flying

Days and moments quickly flying

Author: Edward Caswall (1858)
Tune: ST. SYLVESTER (Dykes)
Published in 75 hymnals

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1 Days and moments quickly flying
Speed us onward to the dead:
OH, how soon shall we be lying
Each within his narrow bed!

2 Jesus, merciful Redeemer,
Rouse dead souls to hear Thy voice;
Wake, oh, wake, each idle dreamer
Now to make the eternal choice!

3 Mark me whither we are wending;
Ponder how we soon must go
To inherit bliss unending
Or eternity of woe.

Life passeth soon;
Death draweth near;
Keep us, good Lord,
Till Thou appear;
With Thee to live,
With Thee to die,
With Thee to reign
Through eternity!

4 As a shadow life is fleeting;
As a vapor so it flies;
For the bygone years retreating
Pardon grant, and make us wise;

5 Wise that we our days may number,
Strive and wrestle with our sin;
Stay not in our work, nor slumber
Till Thy holy rest we win.

6 Soon before the Judge all glorious
We with all the dead shall stand:
Saviour, over death victorious,
Place us then on Thy right hand.

Life passeth soon;
Death draweth near;
Keep us, good Lord,
Till Thou appear;
With Thee to live,
With Thee to die,
With Thee to reign
Through eternity!

Author: Edward Caswall

Edward Caswall was born in 1814, at Yately, in Hampshire, where his father was a clergyman. In 1832, he went to Brasenose College, Oxford, and in 1836, took a second-class in classics. His humorous work, "The Art of Pluck," was published in 1835; it is still selling at Oxford, having passed through many editions. In 1838, he was ordained Deacon, and in 1839, Priest. He became perpetural Curate of Stratford-sub-Castle in 1840. In 1841, he resigned his incumbency and visited Ireland. In 1847, he joined the Church of Rome. In 1850, he was admitted into the Congregation of the Oratory at Birmingham, where he has since remained. He has published several works in prose and poetry. --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A. 1872… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Days and moments quickly flying
Author: Edward Caswall (1858)
Meter: with refrain
Source: "Church Hymns," 1871 (recast in)
Language: English


Days and moments quickly flying. E. Caswall. [Old and New Year.] This hymn appeared in 4 stanzas of 4 lines with the title, "Swiftness of Time," in his Masque of Mary and other Poems, 1858. With it was also given, under the title of "A Warning," one stanza, beginning "As the tree falls, So must it lie," &c. From these, together with abbreviations, additions, or alterations the following centos have been made:—
1. In Chope's Hymnal, 1862, the two with alterations.
2. In Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1868, the same without alterations.
3. In the Appendix to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Psalms and Hymns,
1869, the first hymn, 4 stanza with two additional stanzas.
4. In Hymnary, 1870-2. The first hymn of 4 stanzas with alterations, and a fifth stanza by the editors.
5. In Church Hymns, 1871, a new cento of which stanzas i., ii., iii., are from the first hymn, much varied; v., vi., from Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Psalms and Hymns, altered; and iv., vii., viii., by the compilers.
6. In Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1875, the first hymn of 4 stanzas slightly altered, and a new stanza.
7. In Thring's Collection, 1882, the same first hymn with alterations by the editor.
Other centos found in a few additional collections are in American use. Original texts in Caswall's Hymns & Poems, 1873, p. 250.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Days and moments quickly flying, p. 282, ii. The cento (5) as in Church Hymns, 1871, is adopted in the Hymnal Companion, 1876 and 1890, with the change by Bp. Bickersteth of stanza v., 1. 3, from "For the Old Year now retreating," to "For the bygone years retreating," to adapt the hymn for all seasons of the year.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)


Days and moments quickly flying, p. 282, ii. The variations in the text of this hymn in recent collections are numerous and complicated. Taking the latest and most important we have in order of publication the following:—
1. The Scottish Church Hymnary, 1898. Stanzas i.-iv. are from Hymns Ancient & Modern. (complete edition), the refrain, "Life passeth soon," as st. v. and sts. vi.-ix., with slight alterations, from Church Hymn, 1871.
2. Church Hymns, 1903. Sts. i.-iv., the corresponding stanzas from Hymns Ancient & Modern, (complete edition); v., the refrain "Life passeth," &c, from Church Hymns, 1871, Pt. ii., "As a shadow life is fleeting," &c, also from Church Hymns, 1869 and 1871.
3. Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1904. Pt. i. from the complete edition, 1889; Pt. ii. from Church Hymns, 1871, Part ii., and an additional stanza, “Jesu, merciful Redeemer," from pt. i. of the same collection.
4. The Methodist Hymn Book, 1904. Sts. i., ii., iii. are from Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1889, and iv., v. and the refrain "Life passeth soon," &c, from Church Hymns, 1871.
5. The English Hymnal, 1906. St. i. Caswall altered; ii., iii. Caswall's original; iv. Caswall altered; v. Church Hymns, 1871 ; vi. Church Hymns, 1871 altered.
6. In the American Unitarian Hymns for Church and Home, 1895, the cento, "As a shadow life is fleeting," is compiled from the above centos with new readings.
In minor collections there are other arrangements of stanzas, but the origin of each may be found in Caswall's original text; Church Hymns, 1871; and Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1889.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #1242
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