1 Come, you disconsolate, where'er you languish;
come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal.
2 Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, in mercy saying,
"Earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot cure."
3 Here see the bread of life; see waters flowing
forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast prepared; come, ever knowing
earth has no sorrows but heaven can remove.
Psalter Hymnal, 1987
|First Line:||Come, ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish|
|Author and Reviser (st. 1-2):||Thomas Moore (1816, rev. 1824)|
|Author (st. 3):||Thomas Hastings (1832)|
|Liturgical Use:||Confession Songs|
The original text was written by Thomas Moore for his own collection Sacred Songs in 1816. He revised his poem in 1824. Thomas Hastings took Moore's poem and edited it, replacing the third stanza with one of his own. This text was published in Spiritual Songs for Social Worship in 1831 by Hastings and Lowell Mason, and has become the standard text for this hymn.
Moore's original third stanza began “Come, ask the infidel what boon he brings us,” which challenged unbelievers to find a remedy for sorrow equal to God's comfort. This also gives some insight on what Moore meant by “you disconsolate” in the first stanza – believers only, with their troubles and sadness. With Hastings's third stanza replacing Moore's, it is now easier to read the first stanza as appealing both to believers in need of comfort and to unbelievers who have never felt God’s peace.
The three stanzas of this poem all have a similar final line comparing the sorrows of earth to the power of God in heaven. The first stanza is a call to all of humanity who are downtrodden and sorrowful, while the second describes the comforting God to whom the disconsolate come with their troubles. The final stanza depicts heaven.
Moore wrote his text for a tune by Samuel Webbe, Sr., which may have been arranged from a folk tune, perhaps with German origins. Webbe had published the tune as a vocal solo with the text “Alma redemptoris mater” in his Collection of Motetts and Antiphons in 1792. Hastings and Mason adapted the tune for publication with this text in Spiritual Songs for Social Worship in 1831. A footnote in that publication reads, “Arranged as a Solo and Duet. This arrangement is intended for families, and for small praying circles ….” The principal name of the tune is CONSOLATION, but this is sometimes confused with another tune by the same name (which is also called MORNING SONG). A similar alternate title is CONSOLATOR. Occasionally the tune is called ALMA, after the text with which Webbe paired it. This tune may be sung in unison, as it was originally intended.
This hymn is best suited to services of confession or of comfort and encouragement. Terre Johnson wrote a moving setting of “Come, Ye Disconsolate” for choir with piano accompaniment in memory of the victims of a 2007 tornado in Alabama. Much of the setting is sung in unison or two-part harmony, with the full choir on the final stanza. This setting was also published for vocal solo in “Three Hymns of Hope.”
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org