#29 A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

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Music only:
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1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow’r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.

3. I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.

4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.

5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment–he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.

6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”

7. Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854
Music: George Coles, 1792-1858, alt.

Hymn sung prior to the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. See History of the Church, 6:614-15.

-History: (Source: Wikipedia)

“A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” was a favorite hymn of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. The hymn was introduced in the church by Apostle John Taylor, who learned the hymn in 1840 as a missionary in England.[1] Taylor included the hymn in the Latter Day Saints’ Manchester Hymnal, which was used in England from 1840 to 1912. The hymn was also included in the church’s 1841 hymnal published in NauvooIllinois. Unlike the version in the Manchester Hymnal, the hymn in the Nauvoo hymnal included music composed by Taylor.[1]

On the afternoon that Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in prison in CarthageIllinois, the Smiths had requested that Taylor sing the hymn twice.[2]

After he became president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Taylor asked Ebenezer Beesley to compose new music for the hymn.[1] The results were published in the church’s 1889 hymnal, and the hymn has been included in every subsequent edition of the church’s hymnal.[1] In the LDS Church’s 1985 English-language hymnal, it is hymn #29.[3]