I Would Not Live Always by Augustus Muhlenberg
I would not live alway—live alway below,
Oh, no, I’ll not linger when bidden to go:
The days of our pilgrimage granted us here
Are enough for life’s woes, full enough for its cheer.
Would I shrink from the paths which the prophets of God,
Apostles, and martyrs, so joyfully trod?
While brethren and friends are all hastening home,
Like a spirit unblest, o’er the earth would I roam?
I would not live always. I ask not to stay
Where storm after storm rises dark o er the way;
Where seeking for peace, we but hover around,
Like the patriarch's bird, and no resting is found;
Where Hope, when she paints her gay bow in the air,
Leaves its brilliance to fade in the night of despair;
And Joy's fleeting angel ne’er sheds a glad ray,
Save the gloom of the plumage that bears him away.
I would not live alway—thus fettered by sin,
Temptation without, and corruption within;
In a moment of strength if I sever the chain
Scarce the victory's mine e’er I m captive again.
E’en the rupture of pardon is mingled with fears,
And my cup of thanksgiving with penitent tears;
The festival trump calls for jubilant songs,
But my spirit her own miserere prolongs.
I would not live alway. No welcome the tomb;
Since Jesus hath lain there I dread not its gloom;
Where He deigned to sleep I’ll, too, bow my head;
Oh, peaceful the slumbers on that hallowed bed!
And theu the glad dawn to follow that night,
When the sunlight of glory shall beam on my sight,
When the full matin song, as the sleepers arise
To shout in the morning, shall peal through the skies.
Who, who would live alway—away from his God,
Away from yon heaven, his blissful abode,
Where the rivers of pleasure flow o’er the bright plains,
And the noontide of glory eternally reigns;
Where saints of all ages in harmony meet,
Their Saviour and brethren transported to greet;
While the songs of salvation exultingly roll,
And the smile of the Lord is the feast of the soul?
That heavenly music! What is it I hear?
The notes of the harpers ring sweet in the air;
And see soft unfolding, those portals of gold!
The King all arrayed in his beauty behold!
Oh, give me, oh, give me the wings of a dove!
Let me hasten my flight to those mansions above!
Aye, ‘t is now that my soul on swift pinions would soar,
And in ecstasy bid earth adieu evermore!