It must be done, my Soul; but 'tis a strange

First Line It must be done, my Soul; but 'tis a strange
Author John Norris
Date 1704

[Devotional writing, religious belief; Death, afterlife].

Transcribed from Norris, Mr., "The Meditation." Divine hymns and poems on several occasions... 1704, pp. 137–139. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0110717926.



It must be done, my Soul; but 'tis a strange,

A dismal, and mysterious, Change!

When thou shalt leave this Tenement of Clay,

And to an unknown Somewhere wing away,

When Time shall be Eternity, and thou 

Shalt be thou know'st not what, and live thou know'st not how.


Amazing State! No wonder that we dread

To think of Death, or view the Dead.

Thou'rt all wrapt up in Shades, as if to thee

Our very Knowledge had Antipathy:

Death could not a more sad Retinue find,

Sickness and Pain before, and Darkness all behind.


Some courteous Ghost tell this great Secrecy,

What 'tis you are, and we must be.

You warn us of approaching Death, and why?

May we not know from you what 'tis to die?

But you having shot the Gulph, delight to see

Succeeding Souls plunge in with like uncertainty.


When Life's close Knot by Writ from Destiny

Disease shall cut, or Age untye,

When after some Delays, some dying Strife,

The Soul stands shivering on the Ridge of Life,

With what a dreadful Curiosity

Does she launch out into the Sea of vast Eternity.


So when the spacious Globe was delug'd o'er,

And lower Holds could save no more,

On th'utmost Boughs th'astonish'd Sinners stood,

And view'd th' Advances of th' incroaching Flood;

Oe'r-topp'd at length by th'Elements Increase,

With Horror they resign'd to the untry'd Abyss.