1. There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of the fold. But one was out on the hills away, Far off from the gates of gold. Away on the mountains wild and bare. Away from the tender Shepherd's care. Away from the tender Shepherd's care. 2. "Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine; Are they not enough for Thee?" But the Shepherd made answer: "This of Mine Has wandered away from Me; And although the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to find My sheep, I go to the desert to find My sheep." 3. But none of the ransomed ever knew How deep were the waters crossed; Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through Ere He found His sheep that was lost. Out in the desert He heard its cry, Sick and helpless and ready to die; Sick and helpless and ready to die. 4. "Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way That mark out the mountain's track?" "They were shed for one who had gone astray Ere the Shepherd could bring him back." "Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?" "They are pierced tonight by many a thorn; They are pierced tonight by many a thorn." 5. And all through the mountains, thunder riven And up from the rocky steep, There arose a glad cry to the gate of Heaven, "Rejoice! I have found My sheep!" And the angels echoed around the throne, "Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own! Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!"
Lyrics: Elizabeth Cecelia Douglas Clephane
Music: Ira David Sankey
Tune: THE NINETY AND NINE
Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1830–1869
Written for children by an invalid woman, Elizabeth Clephane, in Melrose, Scotland, the text appeared in a newspaper and caught the attention of Ira Sankey, the well-known music associate of evangelist D. L. Moody. Since he was on the way to their next evangelistic meetings in Edinburgh, Scotland, Mr. Sankey simply tucked the poem in his vest pocket and thought no more of it. During the service that afternoon, Mr. Moody concluded his stirring message on the Good Shepherd and abruptly asked Ira to close with an appropriate solo. Startled, Sankey suddenly remembered the poem in his pocket. He related that he breathed a quick prayer for divine help, struck the chord of A flat on his little pump organ, and began to sing, composing the melody as he went. When Sankey reached the end of the song, both he and Mr. Moody were in tears. During the invitation, many “lost sheep” responded to the call of Christ.
During their series of evangelistic meetings in Great Britain, Moody and Sankey held a service in Melrose, Scotland. The two sisters of Elizabeth Clephane were in the audience. To their surprise and delight, they heard their departed sister’s poem set to a melody and sung by Ira Sankey with great spiritual impact.