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Die Herrlichkeit der Erden

All glories of this earth decay,

In smoke and ashes pass away,

Nor rock nor steel can last;

What here gives pleasure to our eyes,

What we as most enduring prize,

Is but an airy dream that fadeth fast.


What are the things whereof we boast?

What are they worth we value most?

They are but simply naught.

What is the very life of man,

So brief, uncertain, void of plan?

Time's passing fancy with no substance fraught.

What is the fame we strive for sore,

And deem will last for evermore,

But an illusion mere?

So soon as hence the mind is fled,

The lips are pale, the man is dead,

None asks what he achieved when dwelling here.

No wisest knowledge here avails,

O'er fools and wise men Death prevails,

Nor lets them long abide.

Castles nor wealth can help at all;

He who hath found the world too small,

Now finds at last a narrow grave too wide.

There is no laughter here, no joy,

But some heart-sorrow, some annoy,

Will poison it ere long:

Where wilt thou find unmixed delight,

Where honour that is always bright,

Undimmed by scorn and hate, unvexed by wrong?

We reckon year to add to year,

And while we count, behold! the bier

Is standing at our door;

With scarce the time to think or pray

We must be gone, and leave the day,

And say good-night to Earth for evermore.


For even while Pleasure doth beguile,

And Strength looks forward with a smile,

And Youth feels safe and free,

Death weaves his snares about our feet,

And Pleasure ceases to be sweet,

And Youth and Strength and Courage fail and flee,

Up, heart, awake, as one who knows

Of all the gifts that Time bestows

But one belongs to thee--

The Present; for the Past doth fly

As a swift stream goes shooting by;

The Future--ah! who knows whose that shall be?

Laugh at the world, her honours vain,

Her fears and hopes, her love disdain,

Find refuge with the One

Who is and ever shall be King,

To whom no Time a change can bring,

From whom eternal life can come alone.

Ah well for him whose trust is here!

Built on the rock, he need not fear

Time's changes and decay:

Though he may fall, he yet shall stand

For ever in the unchanging land,

For very Strength itself shall be his stay.

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