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O! Thou Possest of Health and Bloom, a hymn on “Immortality of the Soul” by Penina Moïse (Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim 1842)


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O! thou possest of health and bloom,
Think how they once in others glowed;
And yet, how many to the tomb
Passed unprepared to meet their God,
Pilgrim, “thy house in order set!”
Thy soul for sudden change prepare,
Ere thou, to cancel nature’s debt,
Art forced into an unknown sphere.
To every fleeting day then link
Some blest remembrance as it flies,
Some deed that on the grave’s dark brink
To soothe thy conscience may arise.
Keep mercy ever in thy sight,
Whether thou judgest friend or foe,
Her mantle, pure as heaven’s light,
Around each erring spirit throw.
Let faith triumphant o’er all things.
Virtue teach and self-denial,
And firmly shall her angel wings.
Bear thee through life’s stormy trial.
Mortal! be warned, while yet thy prime
By dread disease is unassailed;
Oh! trust not to the future time,
Whose aspect God himself hath veiled.

“O! thou possest of health and bloom” by Penina Moïse, published in 1842, appears under the subject “Immortality of the Soul” as Hymn 52 in Hymns Written for the Service of the Hebrew Congregation Beth Elohim, South Carolina (Penina Moïse et al., Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim, 1842), pp. 54-55. In the one copy of this first edition we know to exist, pages 53 through 56 are missing, and so the lines of the hymn were recovered from the second edition, Hymns Written for the Use of Hebrew Congregations (Penina Moïse et al., Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim, 1856), pp. 94-95, where it appears as Hymn 96 under the title, “Preparation for Death.” Punctuation and capitalization for these lines are provided as found under the conventions of the first edition. –Aharon Varady






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