Death! 'Tis a melancholy day

Death! 'Tis a melancholy day

Author: Isaac Watts
Published in 89 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, Noteworthy Composer
Audio files: MIDI

Full Text

Death, 'tis a melancholy day,
To those who have no God,
When the poor soul is forced away,
To seek her last abode.

In vain to heaven she lifts her eyes,
For guilt, a heavy chain,
Still drags her downward from the skies,
To darkness, fire, and pain.

Awake and mourn, ye heirs of hell,
Let stubborn sinners fear;
You must be driven from earth, and dwell
A long for ever there.

See how the pit gapes wide for you,
And flashes in your face;
And thou, my soul, look downward too,
And sing recovering grace.

He is a God of sovereign love,
That promised heaven to me,
And taught my thoughts to soar above,
Where happy spirits be.

Prepare me, Lord, for thy right hand,
Then come the joyful day;
Come, death, and some celestial band,
To bear my soul away.

Source: The Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion (New ed. thoroughly rev. and much enl.) #119

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Death! 'Tis a melancholy day
Author: Isaac Watts
Language: English


Death! 'tis a melancholy day. I. Watts. [Death of the Wicked.] Appeared in the 1st edition of his Hymns and Sacred Songs, 1707 (2nd edition 1709, Bk. ii. No. 52), in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. It is usually abbreviated as in Dr. Hatfield's Church Hymn Book, N. Y., 1872. In the Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns for the Worship of God, Richmond, U.S.A., 1867, No. 631: "He is a God of sovereign love," is from this hymn.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



NAOMI (Nägeli)

NAOMI was a melody that Lowell Mason (PHH 96) brought to the United States from Europe and arranged as a hymn tune; the arrangement was first published in the periodical Occasional Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1836). Some scholars have attributed the original melody to Johann G. Nageli (PHH 315), but there…

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