Posted by: rcottrill | February 25, 2010

Today in 1852 – Thomas Moore Died

Son of John Moore, a Dublin tradesman, Thomas received his education at a private school, and at Trinity College, Dublin. He pursued a legal profession, and held a post in the Bermuda government for a time. He was also a well-known poet and an Irish nationalist. He wrote 32 hymns, but one in particular has continued to be used. Come, Ye Disconsolate was originally called Relief in Prayer. Thomas Hastings revised it about two decades later. Gone is a stanza that, while true, is not as suited to public worship. The omitted stanza says:

Go, ask the infidel what boon he brings us,
What charm for aching hearts he can reveal,
Sweet as that heavenly promise Hope sings us–
Earth hath no sorrow God cannot heal.

Remaining, after Hastings’ amendments is a hymn of encouragement that says in part:

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 heaven cannot heal.

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 Heaven cannot cure.”

(2) Today in 1873 – Enrico Caruso Born
The year 1907 was early days for the Salvation Army in Canada. Art Smith and his wife were serving as probationary captains in Coburg, Ontario. Down the street they marched one Sunday afternoon, “Blood and Fire” flag unfurled, to hold an open air meeting. They stopped in front of a fashionable hotel, where American tourists lounged carelessly on a broad veranda.

Graphic Enrico CarusoAfter the Smiths had sung and prayed, a short, stocky man came down the steps to ask if he might join in the singing. And, “Could we sing the old hymn, Lead, Kindly Light?” They did so. And the stranger’s soaring tenor voice electrified listeners. Conversation ceased until the hymn was done. The same thing happened when, at his request, they sang Abide With Me. The gathering crowd strained to hear each glorious note. Something unusual was happening.

Then, as was the custom, Mrs. Smith went around with her tambourine, taking a collection to help with their work. It was filled to overflowing, providing the largest amount ever received by the couple. Not until afterward did they learn from the hotel manager the identity of their volunteer soloist. It was none other than Enrico Caruso (pictured here), the legendary tenor with the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Certainly the most esteemed singer of his day, and one of the greatest ever, that very year Caruso had made the first million-selling recording in history. Thus he is significant in establishing the whole recording industry–which has meant much to the ministry of the gospel over the years. Caruso was never completely at home working in English. The recordings he made in our language had to be learned phonetically, and his heavy accent often gets in the way of enjoying the songs. But here he is on more familiar territory, with the Italian song O Sole Mio, recorded in 1916. The tune was later used for an excellent gospel song, Down from His Glory.

His golden voice made Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) rich and famous. Even those who don’t know much about opera recognize his name. But there is more to life than earthly fame. Eternity alone will tell the impact of the Smiths’ humble ministry, and of the funds collected that day.


  1. […] Wordwise Hymns (Thomas Moore, and Samuel Webbe) The Cyber […]


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