He is gone—Beyond the skies. A. P. Stanley. [Ascension.] In a note to this hymn given in his Christ in Song, 1870, p. 261, Dr. Schaff says concerning it:—
"It is here given complete from a manuscript copy kindly furnished by the author to the editor, on Ascension Day, May 6, 1869. The Dean informs me that this hymn' was written about ten years ago (1859), at the request of a friend, whose children had complained to him that there was no suitable hymn for Ascension Day, and who were eagerly asking what had been the feelings of the disciples after that event.'"
It first appeared in Macmillan’s Magazine for June, 1862 (vol. vi. p. 153), and was signed "A.P.S." In the Westminster Abbey Hymn Book, 1883, it is given in full in 7 stanzas of 8 lines. It has also furnished the following centos which are in common use:—
1. Christ is gone—A cloud of light. In the Baptist Psalms & Hymns Supplement, 1880.
2. He is gone—A cloud of light. This revised and abbreviated version was given with the author's consent, in the Chapel Royal, Savoy, Hymnary Appendix, 1870, and repeated in the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns and other collections.
3. He is gone—and we remain. In Alford's Year of Praise, 1867, and also several American hymn-books.
4. He is gone—Towards their goal. In the Wellington Collection Chapel Hymns 1880.
5. He is gone—we heard Him say. In the Oberlin Manual of Praise, 1880.
Taken in these various forms, the use of this hymn is extensive.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)