A Prospect of Heaven Makes Death Easy

By Isaac Watts 1674–1748 Isaac Watts
There is a land of pure delight
   Where saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night,
   And pleasures banish pain.

There everlasting spring abides,
   And never-withering flowers;
Death like a narrow sea divides
   This heavenly land from ours.

Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
   Stand dressed in living green:
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
   While Jordan rolled between.

But timorous mortals start and shrink
   To cross this narrow sea,
And linger shivering on the brink,
   And fear to launch away.

Oh could we make our doubts remove,
   These gloomy doubts that rise,
And see the Canaan that we love,
   With unbeclouded eyes;

Could we but climb where Moses stood
   And view the landscape o’er,
Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
   Should fright us from the shore.

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Poet Isaac Watts 1674–1748

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Religion, Christianity

 Isaac  Watts

Biography

Isaac Watts was a scion of seventeenth-century Independent Dissent, a religious culture distinguished by its attention to local congregational authority, the education of preachers and people, and the cultivation of individual piety. The politics, pedagogy, and piety of Independency are all in evidence in Watts's early life and throughout his long career. He was at once a churchman, an educator, and an important minor poet. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Religion, Christianity

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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