1. Art thou weary, art thou languid, Art thou sore distressed? "Come to Me," saith One, "and coming, Be at rest." 2. Hath He marks to lead me to Him, If He be my Guide? In His feet and hands are wound prints And His side. 3. Hath He diadem, as monarch, That His brow adorns? Yes, a crown in very surety, But of thorns. 4. If I find Him, if I follow, What His guerdon here? Many a sorrow, many a labor, Many a tear. 5. If I still hold closely to Him, What hath He at last? Sorrow vanquished, labor ended, Jordan passed. 6. If I ask Him to receive me, Will He say me nay? Not till earth and not till Heaven Pass away. 7. Finding, following, keeping, struggling, Is He sure to bless? Saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs, Answer, Yes!
Lyrics: Stephen the Sabaite, 8th century
Music: Henry Williams Baker
John M. Neale, 1818–1866
Adapted from the Greek of Stephen the Sabaite, 725–815
Inspired by Christ’s loving offer of pardon and rest for the weary and distressed soul, an 8th century Greek monk named Stephen wrote these plaintive lines. From the age of ten Stephen lived in the monastery of Mar Sabas in the wilderness of Judea. He eventually became the abbot of this monastery until his death at the age of ninety. The mystic quality of the hymn’s text reflects the introspective solitude of Stephen’s life. He joins with “saints, apostles, prophets, and martyrs” to assert God’s blessing upon all who respond to Him in simple faith.
This text in its present form is actually a paraphrase of Stephen’s writing. It was done by John M. Neale, an English clergyman who discovered and translated many ancient Greek and Latin hymns. Neale published “Art thou Weary?” in his 1862 edition of Hymns of the Eastern Church.