A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief



  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.