Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
18. The First Six Verses of the Ninetieth Psalm versified
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        5
  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,        10
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        15
  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!”        20
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,        25
  In beauty’s pride array’d;
But long ere night cut down it lies
  All wither’d and decay’d.


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