The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Eternity! Eternity!

For Advent
For The Circumcision of Christ
"Hymn for New Year's Day"

Version 3

Words: "O Ewigkeit! o Ewigkeit!", Daniel Wülffer, 1617-1685
"The first seven verses are from an old Hymn;
The last seven are by Wülffer."

Translation: Catherine Winkworth
See: Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

Source: Lyra Germanica: First Series, Songs for the Household, 1855

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Psalm xc, 12

1. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou, Eternity!
And yet to thee Time hastes away,
Like as the warhorse to the fray,
Or swift as couriers homeward go,
Or ship to port, or shaft from bow.
Ponder, O man, Eternity!

2. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
For even as on a perfect sphere
End nor beginning can appear,
Even so, Eternity, in thee
Entrance nor exit can there be.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

3. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
A circle infinite art thou,
Thy center an Eternal Now,
Never, we name thy outer bound,
For never end therein is found.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

4. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
A little bird with fretting beak
Might wear to nought the loftiest peak,
Though but each thousand years it came,
Yet thou wert then, as now, the same.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

5. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
As long as God is God, so long
Endure the pains of sin and wrong,
So long the joys of heaven remain;
Oh lasting joy, Oh lasting pain!
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

6. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
O Man, full oft thy thoughts should dwell
Upon the pains of sin and hell,
And on the glories of the pure,
That both beyond all time endure.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

7. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
How terrible art thou in woe,
How fair where joys for ever glow!
God's goodness sheddeth gladness here,
His justice there wakes bitter fear.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

8. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
They who lived poor and naked, rest
With God for eve rich and blest,
And love and praise the Highest Good,
In perfect bliss and gladsome mood.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

9. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
A moment lasts all joy below,
Whereby man sinks to endless woe,
A moment lasts all earthly pain,
Whereby an endless joy we gain.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

10. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
Who ponders oft on thee, is wise,
All fleshly lusts will he despise,
The world finds place with him no more;
The love of vain delights is o'er.
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

11. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
Who marks thee well would say to God,
Here judge, smite me with Thy rod,
Here let me all Thy justice bear,
When time of grace is past, then spare!
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

12. Eternity! Eternity!
How long art thou Eternity!
Lo, I, Eternity, warn thee,
O Man, that oft thou think on me,
The sinner's punishment and pain,
To them who love their God, rich gain!
Ponder, O Man, Eternity!

Compare:

Eternity! Eternity! - Version 1 (Translation by Rev. J. H. Hopkins)

Eternity! Eternity! - Version 2 (Translation by Frances Elizabeth Cox)

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