Pilgrim Song (Man is lonely by birth)

This hymn about the human condition and longing for God was written by American composer and Medical Mission Sister Miriam Therese Winter (b 1938).

It was was originally published in her 1965 collection "Joy is like the Rain".   Sheet music for the Joy is Like the Rain collection has been out of print for a long time, but copies are occasionally available on Amazon - and this is the only known source of sheet music for the song.

The song doesn't appear to have been included in many hymnals, but it is in the Catholic Hymn Book, RPI, Nigeria, published in 1976, and in a Divine Mercy pilgrimage in Hungary.  It is sometimes used at funerals.  And the text was set to a jazz tune and included on an album, Seven Whole Days released in 1970, and recently re-released on CD, by Australian-educated and at the time Singapore-based Anglican priest and composer  James (Jim) Minchin (b 1942) (ref). 

Note that the song is quite different from the folk-hymn of the same name which was made famous by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.



Original recording:


The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they are currently available on this website.

A rough outline is
Man is lonely by birth,
Man is only a pilgrim on earth
Born to be king, time is but a temporary thing.
Only on loan while on earth.

Like the wind in the tree,
Man has been rather reckless and free,
Thrown far and wide, he longs to settle down beside,
The stream flow through eternity.

Like the grass on the lawn,
He will pass by the way and be gone,
A lesson to learn, We walk but once, there’s no return.
Time is always moving on.

Man is longing for One,
For a song and a place in the sun,
A home up above, Where everyday is lived in love.
For rest when the journey is done.

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1 comment:

  1. I love this song. I sang it in the choir as a girl.