"a hymn I lately made to suit a favourite tune of Mrs Newton’s –
in Arne’s Opera of Eliza…
My fond Shepherds"
When my Shepherd, my Saviour is near,
How quickly my sorrows depart!
New beauties around me appear,
New spirits enliven my heart:
His presence gives peace to my soul,
And Satan assaults me in vain;
While my Shepherd his power controls,
I think I no more shall complain.
But alas! what a change do I find,
When my Shepherd withdraws from my sight?
My fears all return to my mind,
My day is soon changed into night:
Then Satan his efforts renews
To vex and ensnare me again;
All my pleasing enjoyments I lose,
And can only lament and complain.
By these changes I often pass through,
I am taught my own weakness to know;
I am taught what my Shepherd can do,
And what thanks to his mercy I owe:
It is he who supports me through all,
When I faint he revives me again;
He attends to my prayer when I call,
And bids me no longer complain.
Wherefore then should I murmur and grieve?
Since my Shepherd is always the same?
And has promised he never will leave
The soul that confides in his name:
To relieve me from all that I fear,
He was buffeted, tempted, and slain;
And at length he will surely appear,
Though he leaves me awhile to complain.
While I dwell in an enemy's land,
Can I hope to be always at peace?
'Tis enough that my Shepherd's at hand,
And that shortly this warfare will cease;
For ere long he will bid me remove
From this region of sorrow and pain,
To abide in his presence above,
And then I no more shall complain.
Liverpool approx 1763
Printed in Olney Hymns, 1779, Book 3, Hymn 30, with slight changes, as
When my Saviour my Shepherd is near
From Arne’s opera Eliza
My fond shepherds
My fond shepherds of late were so blest,
Their fair nymphs were so happy and gay,
That each night they went safely to rest
And they merrily sung through the day.
But ah! what a scene must appear?
Must the sweet rural pastimes be o'er?
Shall the tabor, the tabor, no more strike the ear?
Shall the dance on the green be no more?
Will the flocks from their pastures be led?
Must the herds go wild straying abroad?
Shall the looms be all stopped in each shed?
And the ships be all moor'd in each road?
Must the arts be all scatter'd around?
And shall commerce grow sick of her tide?
Must religion expire on the ground?
And shall virtue sink down by her side?
an English Opera
by Thomas Augustine Arne
(composer of Rule Britannia
and God save the King)
First performed at
the Little Theatre, Haymarket
29 May 1754