Listen/Sheet Music--Sacred Music

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

08:05
Amy Alvord, vocalist, Christine Monson, pianist & arranger
11/23/2014
Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854 Music: George Coles, 1792-1858, alt.

Story

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A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief describes the narrator's encounters with various individuals in need, realizing towards the end that each of those individuals were representative of the Savior, and how, as we are told in Matthew 25:40, "inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto me." In this version, I've depicted 4 of the 7 verses--listen for the chance meeting with the individual in need, the next meeting as he thirsts by the water, meeting as he's condemned to die, and then finally coming from disguise to reveal the Savior standing before him.

John Taylor sang this song for Joseph Smith, as they languished on a hot summer afternoon in the upper room of the Carthage, Illinois, jail, with the distinct feeling that, as was fulfilled a short while later that day by an angry mob, the life of Joseph Smith was about to end. Whether it's helping a stranger with food, clothing, offering whatever talents we have in love--or even giving our lives in his cause, but especially living our life for his cause--we have done it for him. This song started as a vocal/piano rendition but has also been adapted for solo piano.  You can hear the preliminary recording of the piano version, which will available on CD September 27, 2014, under the album, "My Savior, My Lord, My King."

Lyrics

Short version:  Verses 1,3, 6, and 7

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 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 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.
'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.
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 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."
Music to Live By
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