1 Oh Savior of the faithful dead,
With whom Thy servants dwell,
Though cold and green the turf is spread
Above their narrow cell—
No more we cling to mortal clay,
We doubt and fear no more.
Nor shrink to tread the darksome way
Which Thou hast trod before!
2 ’Twas hard from those I loved to go,
Who knelt around my bed,
Whose tears bedewed my burning brow,
Whose arms upheld my head!
As, fading from my dizzy view,
I sought their forms in vain;
The bitterness of death I knew,
And groaned to live again.
3 ’Twas dreadful when th’Accuser’s power
Assailed my sinking heart,
Recounting every wasted hour,
And each unworthy part:
But, Jesus! in that mortal fray,
Thy blessèd comfort stole,
Like sunshine in a stormy day,
Across my darkened soul!
4 When soon or late, this feeble breath
No more to Thee shall pray,
Support me through the vale of death,
And in the darksome way!
When clothed in fleshly weeds again
I wait Thy dread decree;
Judge of the world! bethink Thee then
That Thou hast died for me.
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 of the faithful dead. Bishop R. Heber. [On Recovery from Sickness.] First published in the Christian Observer, Jan., 1816, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines, and headed, "View of Death." In Heber's posthumous Hymns, &c, 1827, p. 152, it is slightly altered, divided into 8 stanzas of 4 lines, and the heading is changed to "On Recovery from Sickness." It is usually given in an abridged form of 2 stanzas of 8 lines, or 4 stanzas of 4 lines, but its use is not extensive.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Display Title: Oh Savior Of The Faithful DeadFirst Line: Oh Savior of the faithful deadTune Title: BURLEITHAuthor: Reginald Heber, 1783-1826Meter: CMDSource: Published posthumously in Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year (London: J. Murray, 1827)