Reginald Heber was born in 1783 into a wealthy, educated family. He was a bright youth, translating a Latin classic into English verse by the time he was seven, entering Oxford at 17, and winning two awards for his poetry during his time there. After his graduation he became rector of his father's church in the village of Hodnet near Shrewsbury in the west of England where he remained for 16 years. He was appointed Bishop of Calcutta in 1823 and worked tirelessly for three years until the weather and travel took its toll on his health and he died of a stroke. Most of his 57 hymns, which include "Holy, Holy, Holy," are still in use today.
-- Greg Scheer, 1995… Go to person page >
O Saviour, is Thy promise fled? Bishop R. Heber. [Advent.] This is the third of the four hymns contributed by Heber to the October number of the Christian Observer, 1811. It was given for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, and consisted of 5 stanzas of 4 lines. In Heber's posthumous Hymns, &c, 1827, p. 10, it is slightly altered and expanded to 6 stanzas of 4 lines, the new stanza being "Yet, 'mid the wild and wintry gale." It is in common use in its full form as in Thring's Collection, 1882, and in an abbreviated form as in Common Praise, 1879. There are also two centos, both beginning "Come, Jesus, come, return again," the first, in the American Unitarian Hymns for the Church of Christ, Boston, 1853, and others, consisting of stanzas ii.-iv. of the 1827 text; and the second in the Islington Psalms & Hymns, 1862, No. 270, where stanzas ii, v., vi. are given. The latter arrangement is also repeated in other collections. The original hymn is based upon the Gospel for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, St. Matt. xi. 2-10.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)