My God, my Father, while I stray

My God, my Father, while I stray

Author: Charlotte Elliott (1834)
Published in 479 hymnals

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Full Text

1 My God, my Father, while I stray
Far from my home in life's rough way,
O teach me from my heart to say,
"Thy will be done."

2 Though dark my path, and sad my lot,
Let me be still and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer Divinely taught,
"Thy will be done."

3 What though in lonely grief I sigh
For friends beloved, no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply,
"Thy will be done."

4 If Thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize -- it ne'er was mine:
I only yield Thee what was Thine --
"Thy will be done."

5 Let but my fainting heart be blest
With Thy sweet Spirit for its Guest,
My God, to Thee I leave the rest;
"Thy will be done."

6 Renew my will from day to day,
Blend it with Thine, and take away
All that now makes it hard to say,
"Thy will be done."

Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 1871

Author: Charlotte Elliott

Elliott, Charlotte, daughter of Charles Elliott, of Clapham and Brighton, and granddaughter of the Rev. H. Venn, of Huddersfield, was born March 18, 1789. The first 32 years of her life were spent mostly at Clapham. In 1823 she removed to Brighton, and died there Sept. 22, 1871. To her acquaintance with Dr. C. Malan, of Geneva, is attributed much of the deep spiritual-mindedness which is so prominent in her hymns. Though weak and feeble in body, she possessed a strong imagination, and a well-cultured and intellectual mind. Her love of poetry and music was great, and is reflected in her verse. Her hymns number about 150, a large percentage of which are in common use. The finest and most widely known of these are, "Just as I am” and "My God… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: My God, my Father, while I stray
Author: Charlotte Elliott (1834)
Meter: 8.8.8.4
Source: The Invalid's Hymn Book, 1834
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Thy will be done
Notes: Alternate tunes: ALMSGIVING (DYKES), John B. Dykes, 1865; EAST CHURCH, Elizabeth W. Freeman, 1899 (repeats last line); SUNSET, Joseph Barnby, 1887
Copyright: Public Domain

Notes

My God and Father! while I stray. Charlotte Elliott. [Resignation.] The uncertainties with regard to the text of this popular hymn have arisen out of the fact that four forms of the text were published by Miss Elliott, and each of these has been taken in turn as the original. The facts and texts are as follows:—
i. The original hymn was published in the Appendix to the first edition of the Invalids Hymn Book, 1834, No. 17, as follows:—

“1. My God and Father! while I stray
Far from my home in life's rough way,
Oh! teach me from my heart to say,
‘Thy will be done!'
"2. Though dark my path, and sad my lot,
Let me ‘be still,' and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
'Thy will be done!'
"3. What though in lonely grief I sigh
For friends beloved, no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply,
‘Thy will be done!'
“4. If thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize, it ne'er was mine;
I only yield thee what was thine;
‘Thy will be done!'
“5. Should pining sickness waste away,
My life in premature decay,
My Father! still I strive to say,
‘Thy will be done!'
"6. If but my fainting heart be blest
With thy sweet spirit for its guest,
My God! to thee I leave the rest—
‘Thy will be done!'
"7. Renew my will from day to day,
Blend it with thine, and take away
All now that makes it hard to say,
‘Thy will be done!'
"8. Then when on earth I breathe no more
The prayer oft mixed with tears before,
I'll sing upon a happier shore,
‘Thy will be done!"'

ii. The second form of the hymn appeared in Miss Elliott's brother's (H. V. Elliott), Psalms and Hymns, 1835, as follows :—

”1. My God my Father, while I stray
Far from my home, on life's rough way,
0 teach me from my heart to say,
‘Thy will be done!'
"2. If thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize,—it ne'er was mine;
I only yield thee what was thine; —
‘Thy will be done!'
“3. E'en if again I ne'er should see
The friend more dear than life to me,
Ere long we both shall be with thee;—
‘Thy will be done!
"4. Should pining sickness waste away
My life in premature decay,
My Father, still I strive to say,
‘Thy will be done!'
"5. If but my fainting heart be blest
With thy sweet Spirit for its guest,
My God, to thee I leave the rest;—
‘Thy will be done!'
“6. Renew my will from day to day;
Blend it with thine, and take away
All that now makes it hard to say
‘Thy will be done!'
"7. Then when on earth I breathe no more
The prayer oft mix'd with tears before,
I'll sing, upon a happier shore,
‘Thy will be done!'"

iii. The third form of the hymn was given in Miss Elliott's Hours of Sorrow, &c, 1836, pp. 130-1, as follows:—

”My God and Father! while I stray
Far from my home in life's rough way,
0! teach me from my heart to say,
‘Thy will be done!'
“Though dark my path and sad my lot,
Let me ‘be still' and murmur not;
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
‘Thy will be done!'
“What though in lonely grief I sigh
For friends belov'd, no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply,
‘Thy will be done!'
“Though thou hast call'd me to resign
What most I priz'd, it ne'er was mine:
I have but yielded what was thine;—
‘Thy will be done!'
“Should grief or sickness waste away
My life in premature decay;
My Father! still I'll strive to say,
‘Thy will be done!'
“Let but my fainting heart be blest,
With thy sweet Spirit for its guest.
My God! to thee I leave the rest:
'Thy will be done!'
“Renew my will from day to day!
Blend it with thine! and take away
All that now makes it hard to say,
‘Thy will be done!'"

iy. The fourth form is in the 1839 edition of Elliott'sPsalms & Hymns and later editions. In this the text of the Psalms and Hymns, 1835, has undergone one change only, and this in the opening line, which reads, "My God, my Father, while I stray."
The great diversity in these texts, and all published by Miss Elliott, or with her sanction, accounts for the curious anomaly that Lord Selborne, in his Book of Praise, gives one form as the original, Bp. Bickersteth, in his Hymnal Companion, another, and some one else a third. In varying forms it is in extensive use in all English-speaking countries, and of all Miss Elliott's hymns it ranks next to her "Just as I am" in popularity. It has also been translated into several languages, including Latin, German, French, &c.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Timeline

Media

The Book of Common Praise: being the hymn book of The Church of England in Canada (revised 1938) #542a
The Book of Common Praise: being the hymn book of The Church of England in Canada (revised 1938) #542b
The Cyber Hymnal #4232
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Small Church Music #1892
  • PDF Score (PDF)
Small Church Music #5775
  • PDF Score (PDF)

Instances

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Small Church Music #1892Audio
Small Church Music #5775Audio
The Cyber Hymnal #4232TextScoreAudio
Include 476 pre-1979 instances



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