Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed

Representative Text

1 Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?

2 Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

3 Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature's sin.

4 Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears;
dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.

5 But drops of tears can ne'er repay
the debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
'tis all that I can do.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >


Scripture References: st. 2 = Mark 15:34 st. 3 = Mark 15:33 Written by Isaac Watts (PHH 155) in six stanzas, this text was published in Watts' Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707. The final line in stanza 1 originally read, "for such a worm as I." Watts' original heading for the text, "Godly sorrow arising from the suffering of Christ," fits stanzas 1-3 well. Stanza 3 contains the profound paradox of God the creator dying for the sin of human creatures: "Christ, the mighty Maker, died for his own creatures' sin." Stanza 4 moves from penitent sorrow to gratitude and tears of joy. Liturgical Use: Holy Week; with sermons on atonement and redemption. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987 ================================= Alas! and did my Saviour bleed. I. Watts. [Passiontide.] First published in the first edition of his Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707, and again in the enlarged edition of the same 1709, Bk. ii., No. 9,in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "Godly sorrow arising from the Sufferings of Christ." At a very early date it passed into common use outside of the religious body with which Watts was associated. It is found in many modern collections in Great Britain, but its most extensive use is in America. Usually the second stanza, marked in the original to be left out in singing if desired, is omitted, both in the early and modern collections. A slightly altered version of this hymn, with the omission of stanza ii., was rendered into Latin by the Rev. R. Bingham, as "Anne fundens sanguinem," was included in his Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871, pp. 245-247. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


[Alas, and did my Savior bleed] (Hudson)


MARTYRDOM was originally an eighteenth-century Scottish folk melody used for the ballad "Helen of Kirkconnel." Hugh Wilson (b. Fenwick, Ayrshire, Scotland, c. 1766; d. Duntocher, Scotland, 1824) adapted MARTYRDOM into a hymn tune in duple meter around 1800. A triple-meter version of the tune was fir…

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