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There are probably few Protestants who, when they have sung “Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,” have been conscious of the fact that it was written by a Roman Catholic. There is indeed no place where the “communion of saints” becomes so apparent as in the hymn-books of Christendom. The authors of our great hymns have come from practically every Christian communion, proving that in every church group there are souls who are living in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Thomas Moore, the author of the hymn mentioned above, is probably better known for his ballads and other poems than for his hymns. Lovers of English lyric poetry will always remember him as the writer of “The last rose of summer,” “Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,” “The harp that once through Tara’s halls,” “Oft in the stilly night,” and a number of other ballads that have lived through the years and have made the name of Thomas Moore famous.

Moore, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, May 28, 1779, was a man of curious make-up. True to his Celtic nature, he possessed a fiery temper that often brought him into embarrassing situations.

Jeffrey, the famous critic, once aroused Moore’s ire by saying unkind things about his poetry. Moore resented this and promptly challenged Jeffrey to a duel. The authorities interfered before any blood was shed. It was then discovered 260 that one of the pistols contained no bullet, whereupon the two men became fast friends.

Moore was one of the few men who ever made a financial success of the business of writing poetry. For “Lalla Rookh” he received $15,000 before a single copy had been sold.

Moore’s hymns, thirty-two in number, first appeared in his volume of “Sacred Songs,” published in 1816. Most of these hymns were written to popular airs of various nations. They have attained greater popularity in America than in Great Britain. One of the most famous of his hymns is “Sound the loud timbrel o’er Egypt’s dark sea.”

Like most men of poetic bent, Moore was a poor financier and business man. At one time he accepted a government position in the revenue service at Bermuda. He did not enjoy his tasks, and so he placed his duties in the hands of a deputy, while he went on a tour of America. The deputy, however, absconded with the proceeds of a ship’s cargo, whereupon Moore found himself liable for the loss of $30,000.

“Come, ye disconsolate” was so changed by Thomas Hastings, the great American hymnist, that it almost became a new hymn. The second line of the first stanza, as Moore originally wrote it, was:

Come, at the shrine of God fervently kneel.

The second line of the second stanza was also changed by Dr. Hastings, the original version by Moore being:

Hope, when all others die, fadeless and pure.

The third line of the second stanza was greatly improved by the American critic. Moore’s line read:


Here speaks the Comforter, in God’s name saying.

But the greatest change was made in the third stanza. This was practically rewritten by Dr. Hastings. Moore’s third stanza departs very radically and abruptly from true hymn style. It originally read:

Come, ask the infidel what boon he brings us,

What charm for aching hearts he can reveal,

Sweet is that heavenly promise Hope sings us—

Earth has no sorrow that God cannot heal.

The last three years of Moore’s life were very unhappy. A nervous affliction rendered him practically helpless. His death occurred on February 26, 1852, at the age of seventy-three years.

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