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.
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 a part again.
Mine was an angel's portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.
I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heart 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.
T'was night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurrican 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 m couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden's garden while I dreamed.
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.
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!"
Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before my eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
"Of mr thou hast not been ashamed."
Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854
Music: George Coles, 1792-1858