At Even, ere the Sun was Set

Representative Text

1 At even, ere the sun was set,
the sick, O Lord, around thee lay;
O in what divers pains they met!
O with what joy they went away!

2 Once more 'tis eventide, and we
oppressed with various ills draw near;
what if thy form we cannot see?
we know and feel that thou art here.

3 O Saviour Christ, our woes dispel;
for some are sick, and some are sad,
and some have never loved thee well,
and some have lost the love they had;

4 And some have found the world is vain,
yet from the world they break not free;
and some have friends who give them pain,
yet have not sought a friend in thee;

5 And none, O Lord, have perfect rest,
for none are wholly free from sin;
and they who fain would serve thee best
are conscious most of wrong within.

6 O Saviour Christ, thou too art man;
thou hast been troubled, tempted, tried;
thy kind but searching glance can scan
the very wounds that shame would hide.

7 Thy touch has still its ancient power;
no word from thee can fruitless fall:
Hear, in this solemn evening hour,
and in thy mercy heal us all.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #13

Author: Henry Twells

Twells, Henry, M.A., was born in 1823, and educated at St. Peter's College, Cambridge. B.A. 1848, M.A. 1851. Taking Holy Orders in 1849, he was successively Curate of Great Berkhamsted, 1849-51; Sub-Vicar of Stratford-on-Avon, 1851-54; Master of St. Andrew's House School, Mells, Somerset, 1854-56; and Head Master of Godolphin School, Hammersmith, 1856-70. In 1870 he was preferred to the Rectory of Baldock, Herts, and in 1871 to that of Waltham-on-the Wolds. He was Select Preacher at Cambridge in 1873-74, and became an Honorary Canon of Peterborough Cathedral in 1884. Canon Twells is best known by his beautiful evening hymn, "At even ere the sun was set." He also contributed the following hymns to the 1889 Supplemental Hymns to Hymns Ancie… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: At even ere the sun was set
Title: At Even, ere the Sun was Set
Author: Henry Twells (1868)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


At even ere the sun was set. H. Twells. [Evening.] Written for and first published in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1868, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. It was originally in 8 stanzas. The omitted st, No. iv., which has since been reinstated in Church Hymns, 1871, Taring's Collection, 1882, and others, reads:—

"And some are pressed with worldly care,
And some are tried with sinful doubt;
And some such grievous passions tear,
That only Thou canst cast them out."

Since the first publication of the hymn in Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1868, it has been included in almost every collection published from that date both in Great Britain and America. It ranks with the most popular of evening hymns. The text which has the widest acceptance is that of Hymns Ancient & Modern. Three changes, however, in the opening line are found in the collections.
(1) "At even, ere 'the sun did set";
(2) "At even, when the sun was set"; and
(3) "At even, when the sun did set."
The last reading is adopted in Thring's Collection, and, together with the second, is based upon the passage in St. Mark i. 32, "At even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased," &c, in preference to the reading in St. Luke iv. 40, “Now, (revised, ‘And’) when the sun was setting." This preference has the support of the majority of commentators both ancient and modern, the ground taken being the acknowledged unlawfulness (with the Jews) of such a gathering of diseased persons until the sun had gone down, and the Sabbath was ended. The question was discussed by Mr. Twells and another in the Literary Churchman, June 9 and 23, 1882. The weight of evidence given therein was strongly in favour of the amended reading. Authorized text in Church Hymns.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

At even ere the sun was set , p. 88, ii. An abbreviated form of this is in M. W. Stryker's Church Song, 1889, as "O Saviour Christ, our woes dispel."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)



Instances (1 - 19 of 19)

An Nou Chanté! #53


Ancient and Modern #13

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #49

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #65

TextPage Scan

Common Praise #12

TextPage Scan

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #50

Page Scan

Complete Mission Praise #43

Great Songs of the Church #36

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #9

Hymns and Psalms #142

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #315

Hymns of the Christian Life #273

Hymns Old and New #43

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #252

Sing Glory #487


Small Church Music #281


The Cyber Hymnal #278

TextPage Scan

The New English Hymnal #243


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #558

Include 252 pre-1979 instances
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