Poem by George Whitefield dated May 1, 1764
This manuscript copy of “Ah! Lovely appearance of death,” featuring images of a skull and crossed bones, states that the hymn was written by George Whitefield in 1764 for use at his own funeral. However, hymnologists generally agree that it was written by Charles Wesley and first published in John Frederick Lampe’s Hymns on the Great Festivals, and Other Occasions in 1746. The hymn welcomes death as release from life’s troubles:
How blest is our brother bereft
Of all that could burden his mind
How easy the soul that hath left
This wearisome body behind.
Of evil incapable thou
Whose relics with envy I see
No longer in misery now
No longer a sinner like me.