Swain, Joseph, was born at Birmingham in 1761, and after being apprenticed to an engraver, removed to London. After a time he became a decided Christian, and being of an emotional poetic temperament, began to give expression to his new thoughts and feelings in hymns. In 1783 he was baptized by the Rev. Dr. Rippon, and in 1791 became minister of a Baptist congregation in East Street, Walworth. After a short but popular and very useful ministry, he died April 16, 1796 Swain published the following:—
(1) A Collection of Poems on Several Occasions, London, 1781; (2) Redemption, a Poem in five Books, London, 1789; (3) Experimental Essays on Divine Subjects, London, 1791; (4) Walworth Hymns, by J. Swain, Pastor of the Baptist Church Meeting… Go to person page >
A Friend there is; your voices join. J. Swain. [Jesus the Friend.] Appeared as one of two hymns in his Experimental Essays on Divine Subjects, London, 1791, pp. 85-87, with the note "The two following pieces were occasioned by the death of an only son.” The second piece is:—"When Jesus, both of God and Man." In 1792 he included the former in his Walworth Hymns, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines, and from thence it has passed iuto several collections, mainly those of the Baptists, but including also other Non-conforming bodies and a limited number in the Church of England. In America it is almost unknown. Original text, Lyra Britannica 1867, pp. 37—8.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)