A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief


A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief


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.

Matthew 25:31–40

Mosiah 2:17