The First Six Verses of the Ninetieth Psalm (Poem by Robert Burns)

the Old Poems

The First Six Verses of the Ninetieth Psalm
By Robert Burns


O Thou, the first, the greatest friend
    Of all the human race!
Whose strong right hand has ever been
    Their stay and dwelling place!

Before the mountains heav’d their heads
    Beneath Thy forming hand,
Before this ponderous globe itself
    Arose at Thy command;

That Pow’r which rais’d and still upholds
    This universal frame,
From countless, unbeginning time
    Was ever still the same.

Those mighty periods of years
    Which seem to us so vast,
Appear no more before Thy sight
    Than yesterday that’s past.

Thou giv’st the word: Thy creature, man,
    Is to existence brought;
Again thou say’st, “Ye sons of men,
    Return ye into nought!”

Thou layest them, with all their cares,
    In everlasting sleep;
As with a flood Thou tak’st them off
    With overwhelming sweep.

They flourish like the morning flow’r,
    In beauty’s pride array’d;
But long ere night, cut down, it lies
    All wither’d and decay’d.

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