Lyricist Thomas Moore was an Irish Catholic, born in Dublin in 1779. Moore was a close friend to fellow poet Lord Byron and was known as the ‘Voice of Ireland’ for his contribution to the political landscape of his homeland through secular prose and poetry. While he was mostly known for writing romantic poetry and such like, Moore also contributed 32 hymn texts to sacred hymnody, of which “Come Ye Disconsolate” has long been considered his most popular. While many rightly reject Thomas Moore’s doctrine and practice, we have included these comforting lines with the thought that some may still be blessed by these gracious words which, while the man fell short, the hymn elegantly upholds principles of sound doctrine.
Thomas Moore, 1779-1852
Composer Samuel Webbe, Sr. was born in London, England in 1740. Though Webbe had limited educational opportunities due to his family’s impoverished condition, he laboured diligently beginning at age 11 to teach
himself six foreign languages while apprenticing with a cabinet maker. Webbe was an organist for several Catholic churches and wrote many tunes and other works for the Catholic church.
Samuel Webbe, Sr. 1740-1816
Arranger Thomas Hastings was born in Washington, Connecticut in 1784. Hastings early developed a love for music, and taught others from his wealth of self-taught musical knowledge beginning in 1806. He would spend the next several years teaching in various cities throughout New York state before he was asked to take charge of numerous church choirs in New York City. Hastings laboured to complete 50 volumes of church music, with more than 1,000 hymn tunes included in the number, and personally authored more than 600 sets of lyrics. Hastings is quoted as saying “The homage that we owe Almighty God calls for the noblest and most reverential tribute that music can render.” (Osbeck, 101 More Hymn Stories, p64)
He accomplished this end through the diligent training of a multitude of church choirs, where his skill was greatly sought after. Thomas Hastings’ influence on church music has often been compared to ‘Father of American Church Music’ Lowell Mason.
“’Come Ye Disconsolate’ has ministered to the soothing of many a troubled heart, and often guided the weary soul to the mercy seat, where alone the accusing conscience may lay its guilty burden down and realize, ‘Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.’”
-Ira Sankey, “My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns and of Sacred Songs and Solos.”