Brother, thou art gone before us

Brother, thou art gone before us

Author: Henry Hart Milman
Published in 54 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, Noteworthy Composer
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

Brother, thou art gone before us,
And thy saintly soul is flown,
Where tears are wiped from every eye,
And sorrows are unknown;
From the burden of the flesh,
And from care and fear, released,
Where the wicked cease from troubling,
And the weary are at rest.

Sin no more can taint thy spirit,
Nor can doubt thy faith assail;
Thy soul its welcome has received,
Thy strength shall never fail;
And thou’rt sure to meet the good,
Whom on earth thou lovedst best,
Where the wicked cease from troubling,
And the weary are at rest.

To the grave thy body bearing,
Low we place it mid the dead;
And lay the turf above it now,
And seal its narrow bed;
But thy spirit soars away,
Free, among the faithful blest,
Where the wicked cease from troubling
And the weary are at rest.

Source: A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotion (15th ed.) #403

Author: Henry Hart Milman

Milman, Henry Hart, D.D., the youngest son of Sir Francis Milman (who received his Baronetage as an eminent Court physician), was born Feb. 10th, 1791, and educated at Dr. Burney's at Greenwich, and subsequently at Eton. His career at B. N. C. Oxford, was brilliant. He took a first class in classics, and carried off the Newdigate, Latin Verse, Latin Essay, and English Essay. His Newdigate on the Apollo Belvedere, 1812, is styled by Dean Stanley "the most perfect of Oxford prize poems." His literary career for several years promised to be poetical. His tragedy Fazio was played at Covent Garden, Miss O'Neill acting Bianca. Samor was written in the year of his appointment to St. Mary's, Reading (1817); The Fall of Jerusalem (1820); Belshazzar… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Brother, thou art gone before us
Author: Henry Hart Milman
Copyright: Public Domain


Brother, thou art gone before us. H. H. Milman. [Burial.] This hymn is introduced by Dean Milman in his Martyr of Antioch, a Dramatic Poem, 1822, pp. 33-5, as being sung at "The Place of Burial of the Christians." At the close of a funeral at night, Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, is represented as saying:—

"So, by the side of martyr'd Babylas,
Brother, thou slumberest; silent as yon stars,
And silent as the falling dews around thee,
We leave thy verdant grave. But oh! shall we,
When we put off the load of mortal life,
Depart like thee as in a deeper sleep,
With the sweet smile of life on the closed lips,
Or in an agony of mortal pain,
By the pitch'd stake, or den of raging lions?"

One of the first to extract it from the dramatic poem, and constitute it as a hymn for common use was Elliott, who included it in his Psalms and Hymns, 1835. It soon became 'popular, and is given in a great number of hymnals in Great Britain and America. Original text in Hymnal Companion, with "fear" changed to "fears" in stanza ii., lines 5.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #12069
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The Cyber Hymnal #12069

Include 53 pre-1979 instances
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