1 Gracious Savior, gentle Shepherd,
our little ones are dear to thee;
gathered with thine arms and carried
in thy bosom may they be
sweetly, gently, safely tended,
from all want and danger free.
2 Tender Shepherd, never leave them,
from thy fold to go astray;
by thy look of love directed,
may they walk the narrow way;
thus direct them and protect them,
lest they fall an easy prey.
3 Let thy holy Word instruct them:
fill their minds with heav'nly light;
let thy love and grace constrain them
to approve whate'er is right,
take thine easy yoke and wear it,
and to prove thy burden light.
4 Cleanse their hearts from sinful folly
in the stream thy love supplied,
mingled streams of blood and water
flowing from thy wounded side;
and to heav'nly pastures lead them,
where thine own still waters glide.
Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #194
|First Line:||Gracious Savior, gentle Shepherd|
|Title:||Gracious Savior, Gentle Shepherd|
|Author (attributed to):||Jane Elizabeth Leeson (1842)|
Gracious Saviour, gentle [holy] Shepherd. [The Good Shepherd.] In Miss Jane E. Leeson's Hymns & Scenes of Childhood, Published in 1842, three hymns appeared as follows:—
1. "Shepherd, in Thy bosom folded," as No. v."
2. "Loving Shepherd of Thy sheep," as No. xvii.
3. "Infant sorrow, infant weakness," as No. xl.
Upon these hymns the cento, "Gracious Saviour, gentle Shepherd," is based. It was first published in the Salisbury Hymn Book, 1857, No. 183, in 5 stanzas of 6 lines, and was appointed for Holy Baptism. It is thus composed:—
i. "Gracious Saviour, gentle Shepherd,
Little Ones are dear to Thee;
Gathered with Thine arms and carried
In Thy bosom they may be
Sweetly, fondly, safely tended;
From all want and danger free."
Of this stanza lines 1-4 are from stanza iii. of No. xl., as above, and lines 5, 6 of No. v. The words in italics in this and the remaining stanzas are by Miss Leeson; the alterations and additions being by the Rev. J. Keble.
ii. "Tender Shepherd, never leave them
From Thy fold to go astray;
By Thy look of love directed,
May they walk the narrow way;
Thus direct them, and protect them,
Lest they fall an easy prey."
This stanza is rewritten from No. xvii. as above, no single line of the original being retained. It is based on the whole hymn, and not on any single stanza.
iii. “Cleanse their hearts from sinful folly
In the stream Thy love supplied;
Mingled streams of Blood and water
Flowing from Thy wounded side:
And to heavenly pastures lead them,
Where Thine own still waters glide."
The lines in italics are from Miss Leeson's No. v., stanza ii; whilst lines 5, 6, by J. Keble, have nothing in common with the three hymns.
iv. "Let Thy holy word instruct them:
Fill their minds with heavenly light;
Let Thy love and grace constrain them,
To approve whate'er is right,
Take Thine easy yoke and wear it,
And to prove Thy burden light.”
This is a new stanza by J. Keble, the keynote being Miss Leeson's No. v., stanza iii., line 1— "Ever and anon instruct me."
v. “Taught to lisp the holy praises
Which on earth Thy children sing,—
Both with lips and hearts unfeigned
May they their thank-offerings bring;
Then with all the saints in glory
Join to praise their Lord and King!"
This stanza is Miss Leeson's No. v., stanza iii., rewritten.
In 1860 this cento was repeated in Jonathan Whittemore's Baptist Supplement to all Hymn Books, Lond., J. F. Shaw, No. 140, and signed " W.," i.e. "Whittemore." This subscription has led the cento to be described as by "Miss Jane E. Leeson, and the Rev. Jonathan Whittemore, Baptist Minister, b. April 6, 1802; d. Oct. 31, 1860." Seeing, however, that Whittemore's text is a repetition of the Salisbury Hymn Book text, with the single alteration of stanza iii., line 6, from " Where Thine own still waters glide," to "Where the peaceful waters glide," this ascription must be set aside in favour of “Miss Jane E. Leeson, 1842; J. Keble, 1857." [E MSS. and S. MSS.]
The use of this cento in all English-speaking countries is very great. The opening line sometimes reads, "Gracious Saviour, holy Shepherd," but this form is not received with general favour.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Gracious Saviour, gentle [holy] Shepherd, p. 448, ii. Since the published of this Dictionary in 1892 we have found a copy of J. Whittemore's Baptist Supplement to all Hymn Books, dated 1850, and in it, as No.140, is the cento which, as being in the Salisbury Hymn Book of 1857, we attributed to Miss J. E. Leeson, 1842; J. Keble, 1857. It must now read; Miss J. E. Leeson, 1842; J. Whittemore, 1850.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)