The poorest of the poor are we

The poorest of the poor are we

Author: James Montgomery
Published in 1 hymnal

Full Text

The poorest of the poor are we,
But precious are our souls to Thee,
Whom, though Thou art the Lord of all,
Our Heavenly Father we may call.

If meanly clad and sparely fed,
Give us this day our daily bread,
For all that live and move, and are,
In Providence, Thy bounty share.

To Thee, when the young ravens cry,
Thy hands their humble wants supply;
Alike on Thee, their unknown Friend,
The lion and the lamb depend.

Thine air, Thy sunshine, dews, and showers,
In season make the lily's flowers
More beautiful to look upon,
Than on his throne, King Solomon.

The widow, old and desolate;
The orphan in his low estate;
The slave, the outcast of mankind,
Thee their almighty Helper, find.

All times, and every where, Thine eye
Looks down upon us from the sky;
Could we look up by light divine,
Ours might be ever fix'd on Thine.

While every word we speak, Thine ear
Through all creation's sounds can hear,
By ours, if open'd to Thy Word,
Thy voice from heaven would here be heard.

Moment on moment, breath by breath,
Our pilgrim life draws nearer death:
Each breath, each moment, make us be
More meet for immortality.

O God, most merciful and just,
Shall we not put in Thee our trust?
In grief and pain, to calm our fears,
Comfort our hearts, and wipe our tears.

Sacred Poems and Hymns

Author: James Montgomery

Montgomery, James, son of John Montgomery, a Moravian minister, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Nov. 4, 1771. In 1776 he removed with his parents to the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, county of Antrim. Two years after he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary, Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787, and entered a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that he entered upon a similar situation at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it quite as unsuitable to his taste as the former. A journey to London, with the hope of finding a publisher for his youthful poems ended in failure; and in 1792 he was glad to leave Wath for Shefield to join Mr. Gales, an auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register newspap… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The poorest of the poor are we
Author: James Montgomery
Language: English


The poorest of the poor are we. J. Montgomery. [Ragged Schools.] Under the date of 1849, Holland says in his Memoirs of Montgomery, vol. vii. p. 216:—

"We [Mr. J. Everett and himself] found that our entrance had arrested his pen in the midst of transcribing a hymn which he had been requested to compose for the use of Ragged Schools. On being requested to favour us with a hearing of the verses, he read what he had written, but with such an involuntary accompaniment of deep feeling that we felt more pain than pleasure in the affecting incident."

This hymn is in 9 stanzas of 4 lines in Montgomery's Original Hymns, 1853. In its full form it is not in common use but st. ix. vi.-viii, are given in Martineau's Hymns, &c, 1873, No. 373, as "O God, most merciful and just."

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)