God of Mercy and Compassion Look with Pity on my Pain

This is a hymn which appeals to God's mercy.

The words are sometimes attributed to English music seller, dealer and chapman, and later composer and royal-family music tutor, Louis Von Esch (17xx - 1829) - source - although as a composer he is more likely to have written a tune than a hymn-text. Other than that the author is unknown.

The text has meter D.

Hymn-books where it has been published in include:
  • Christian Psalmody - a collection of above 800 Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, S Staunton, 1836
  • The Advent Harp; designed for believers in the speedy coming of Christ,  J. V. Himes, Boston, USA, 1849.

The hymn would probably have faded into obscurity, except for a (mis?) attribution in reporting of the sinking of the Titanic: An eye-witness said that one of the last pieces of music played by the ship's orchestra was "Autumn, an old Anglican hymn".  From this, someone identified the tune AUTUMN (Barthélemon), written in 1785 by French violinist, pedagogue, and composer, François-Hippolyte Barthélémon (1741-1808) - which was published in some hymn book, used by the Episcopal church in America, set to the text of 'God of mercy and compassion look with pity on my pain'.  The actual book has not been identified. Nevertheless, the tune AUTUMN and this text were used in several movies about the Titanic, and are now referenced in many authoritative-sounding sources, eg  Ships And Things and Old Magazines/.  As a result, many people now believe it was a widely known hymn.

There are issues with this association.  A1974 article from the Hymn Society of Great Britain suggests that perhaps the eye-witness said "I heard the band playing the tune that Episcopalians call AUGHTON" - and this was mis-understood as AUTUMN by reporters who weren't familiar with hymn-tune names.   Some folk-music commentators (MudCat.org - link currently unavailable) - have suggested that this was deliberate mis-reporting due to religious sensitivities/politics.

Either way, this does not appear to be a hymn which is widely used today.  

However it is significant, and included on this website, because of the parallels between the first verses of this hymn, and Edmund Vaughan's God of Mercy and Compassion.


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Instrumental - organ:

Instrumental - piano:


God of mercy and compassion, look with pity on my pain.
Hear a mournful broken spirit, prostrate at thy feet complain.
Many are my foes and mighty, strength to conquer I have none;
nothing can uphold my goings, but thy blessed self alone.

Saviour, look on thy beloved; triumph over all my foes.
Turn to heavenly joy my mourning, turn to gladness all my woes.
Live or die or work or suffer, let my weary soul abide,
in all changes whatsoever, sure and steadfast by thy side.

When temptations fierce assault me, when my enemies I find,
sin and guilt and death and Satan, all against my soul combined,
hold me up in mighty waters, keep my eyes on things above,
righteousness, divine atonement, peace and everlasting love.

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