A Poor Brother's Hymnal
Thursday, March 02, 2006
  Brief Life Is Here Our Portion

Bernard of Morlas, c. 1145; tr. by John Neale, 1858

Brief life is here our portion;
Brief sorrow, short-lived care.
The life that knows no ending,
The tearless life, is there.
O happy retribution:
Short toil, eternal rest;
For mortals and for sinners
A mansion with the blest!

2. There grief is turned to pleasure;
Such pleasure as below
No human voice can utter,
No human heart can know;
And after fleshly weakness,
And after this world's night,
And after storm and whirlwind,
Are calm, and joy, and light.

3. And now we fight the battle,
But then shall wear the crown
Of full and everlasting
And passionless renown;
And now we watch and struggle,
And now we live in hope,
And Zion in her anguish
With Babylon must cope.

4. But He whom now we trust in
Shall then be seen and known;
And they that know and see Him
Shall have Him for their own.
And there is David's fountain
And life in fullest glow;
And there the light is golden,
And milk and honey flow.

5. The morning shall awaken,
And shadows shall decay,
And each true-hearted servant
Shall shine as doth the day.
There God, our King and Portion,
In fulness of His grace
Shall we behold forever
And worship face to face.

6. O sweet and blessed country,
The home of God's elect!
O sweet and blessed country
That eager hearts expect!
Jesus, in mercy bring us
To that dear land of rest,
Who art, with God the Father
And Spirit, ever blest.

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