The Swiftness of Time (Jeremiah Ingalls)

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  • (Posted 2017-05-29)   CPDL #44749:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-05-29).   Score information: 7 x 10 inches (landscape), 1 page, 42 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Four-part version; Counter part written by B. C. Johnston, 2017. Note shapes added (4-shape). Ten stanzas included, as in Ingalls 1805. MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.
  • (Posted 2017-05-29)   CPDL #44748:       
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-05-29).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 69 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Three-part version. Oval note edition, as written in 1805. Ten stanzas included, as in Ingalls 1805. MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.
  • (Posted 2017-05-29)   CPDL #44747:   
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-05-29).   Score information: 7 x 10 inches (landscape), 1 page, 40 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Three-part version. Note shapes added (4-shape). Ten stanzas included, as in Ingalls 1905.

General Information

Title: The Swiftness of Time
First Line: My days, my weeks, my months, my years
Composer: Jeremiah Ingalls
Lyricist: Thomas Green

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: STB
Genre: Sacred

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1805 in Ingalls' The Christian Harmony, p. 83, for three voices: Treble-Tenor-Bass

Description: Words by Thomas Green, published 1780, entitled Soliloquy on the Eve of New Year's Day, first line My days and weeks, and months and years, with eleven stanzas. Ingalls uses a version in Smith and Sleeper's Divine Hymns or Spiritual Songs, 1794, with ten stanzas.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Poems on Various Subjects, Chiefly Sacred, by the Late Mr. Thomas Green, of Ware, Hertfordshire. 1780

Soliloquy on the Eve of New Year's Day
My days and weeks, and months and years,
Fly rapid as the whirling spheres
Around the steady pole;
Time, like the tide, its motion keeps,
Till I shall launch those boundless deeps
Where endless ages roll.

The grave is near the cradle seen,
How swift the moments pass between,
And whisper, as they fly,
Unthinking man! remember this,
Thou, 'midst thy sublunary bliss,
Must gasp and groan and die.

My soul, attend the solemn call,
Thy crazy cottage soon will fall,
And thou must take thy flight
Above yon wide ethereal blue,
To love and sing as angels do
Or sink in endless night.

Eternal bliss, or endless woe,
Hangs on this inch of time below,
This poor precarious breath:
The God of nature only knows,
Whether another year shall close,
Ere l expire in death.

Before the sun shall run its round,
I may be buried under ground,
And there in silence rot:
Alas, one hour may close the scene,
And ere twelve months shall intervene,
My name be quite forgot.

But will my soul be then extinct,
And cease to live, or cease to think?
It cannot, cannot be:
Thou, my immortal, must not die!
What wilt thou do, or whither fly,
When death has set thee free?

Will mercy then her arms extend?
Will Jesus be thy guardian friend,
And heaven thy dwelling place ?
Or shall insulting fiends appear,
To drag thee down to black despair,
Beyond the reach of grace?

Lord, at thy footstool I would bow,
And humbly beg assistance now,
To know my real state;
While life and health and time endure,
Fain would l make my heaven secure,
Before it be too late.

If in destruction's road I stray,
Help me to choose that better way
Which leads to joys on high;
My soul renew, my sins forgive,
Nor let me ever dare to live
Such as I dare not die!

But if thy grace hath changed my heart,
Thy beams of comfort, Lord, impart,
To gild my future days;
Go on to bless; and let me see
How great my obligations be
To speak and live thy praise.

With thee let every day be past,
And when that comes, which proves my last,
May glory dawn within!
Then banish from me every doubt;
And, ere life's glimmering lamp goes out,
Let 'endless joys begin.

 

Joshua Smith and Samuel Sleeper, Divine Hymns or Spiritual Songs, 1794

On the Swiftness of Time
1. My days, my weeks, my months, my years
Fly rapid like the whirling spheres,
Around the steady pole;
Time like a tide its motion keeps,
Till I shall launch those boundless deeps,
Where endless ages roll.

2. The grave is near the cradle seen,
How swift the moments pass between,
And whisper as they fly,
Unthinking man remember this,
Thou 'midst thy sublunary bliss,
Must groan and gasp and die.

3. My soul attend the solemn call,
Thine earthly tent must quickly fall,
And thou must take thy flight
Beyond the vast extensive blue,
To love and sing as angels do,
Or sink in endless night.

4. Eternal bliss, eternal woe
Hangs on this inch of time below,
On this precarious breath:
The God of nature only knows,
Whether another year shall close
Ere I expire in death.

5. Long ere the sun shall run its round
I may be buried under ground,
And there in silence rot:
Alas! one hour may close the scene,
And ere twelve months may roll between
My name be quite forgot.

6. But shall my soul be then extinct,
And cease to live or cease to think?
It cannot, cannot be;
Thou, my immortal cannot die,
What wilt thou do, or whither fly
When death shall set thee free?

7. Will mercy then its arm extend?
Will Jesus be thy guardian friend,
And heaven thy dwelling-place?
Or shall insulting fiends appear,
To drag thee down to dark despair,
Beyond the reach of grace?

8. A heaven or hell, and these alone,
Beyond this mortal life are known;
There is no middle state;
Today attend the call divine,
Tomorrow may be none of thine,
Or it may be too late.

9. O! do not pass this life in dreams,
Vast is the change what-e'er it seems
To poor unthinking men;
Lord, at thy footstool I would bow,
Bid conscience tell me plainly now
What it will tell me then.

10. If in destruction's road I stray,
Help me to choose that better way
Which leads to joys on high;
Thy grace impart, my guilt forgive;
Nor let me ever dare to live
Such as I dare not die.