Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was also a lawyer and public servant, as well as an Irish nationalist. He wrote two secular songs – popular ballads that are still recorded today, nearly two centuries later - The Last Rose of Summer, and Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms. The history of the latter song shows something about the character of Moore. Apparently his wife contracted smallpox. Though she recovered, she was so disfigured by the disease that she refused to be seen by anyone, including her husband. In his sorrow, the author wrote a song to assure her of his love, no matter how she looked. After she heard him sing his song outside her room, she opened the door and gratefully fell into his arms. The song says: "Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, which I gaze on so fondly today, were to change by tomorrow and flee from my arms, like fairy gifts fading away. Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art. Let thy loveliness fade as it will; And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart would entwine itself verdantly still." We don't know, but maybe his wife's experience with smallpox influenced Moore to write this week's hymn choice. He and his wife certainly knew what it felt like to be disconsolate. But one writer called Moore "one of the strangest of all men to write hymns." The son of a Dublin grocer, Moore was educated at Trinity College in Dublin, but he could not graduate because he was Roman Catholic. After a short career in government, he devoted himself to writing and became known as the "Voice of Ireland." Many were surprised when Moore published his "Sacred Song-Duets" in 1824. "Come, Ye Disconsolate," which was originally titled "Relief in Prayer," has undergone some revision since Moore wrote it, but the original version contained the same message. Thomas Hastings (1784-1872) dropped Moore's original third stanza, replacing it with one of his own. But this is a great hymn of comfort, encouragement for the disconsolate in the face of sorrow and loss. In Matthew 11:28-30 we are comforted by the words of Jesus "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." In Hebrews 4:14-16 we are reminded that through Christ, our High Priest, there is "mercy and ... grace to help in time of need," and we are told to "come boldly" before the throne and seek it. Are you carrying a heavy burden today? Are you discouraged and overwhelmed? If so be assured that "earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal".
1. Come, ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav'n cannot heal.
2. Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
"Earth has no sorrow that heav'n cannot cure."
3. Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heav'n can remove.
You can listen to it being sung here. LISTEN