Behold, the Master Passeth By!

Representative Text

1 Behold, the Master passeth by!
Oh, seest thou not His pleading eye?
With low sad voice He calleth thee,
"Leave this vain world, and follow Me."

2 O soul, bound down with harrowing care,
Hast thou no thought for heaven to spare?
From earthly toils lift up thine eye;
Behold, the Master passeth by!

3 One heard Him calling long ago,
And straightway left all things below,
Counting his earthly gain as loss
For Jesus and His blessèd cross.

4 That "follow Me" his faithful ear
Seemed every day afresh to hear;
Its echoes stirred his spirit still,
And fired his hope, and nerved his will.

5 God gently calls us every day:
Why should we then our bliss delay?
He calls to heaven and endless light:
Why should we love the dreary night?

6 Praise, Lord, to Thee, for Matthew's call,
At which he rose and left his all:
Thou, Lord, e'en now art calling me;
I will leave all, and follow Thee.


The Hymnal: revised and enlarged as adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the year of our Lord 1892

Author: William Walsham How

William W. How (b. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, 1823; d. Leenane, County Mayo, Ireland, 1897) studied at Wadham College, Oxford, and Durham University and was ordained in the Church of England in 1847. He served various congregations and became Suffragan Bishop in east London in 1879 and Bishop of Wakefield in 1888. Called both the "poor man's bishop" and "the children's bishop," How was known for his work among the destitute in the London slums and among the factory workers in west Yorkshire. He wrote a number of theological works about controversies surrounding the Oxford Movement and attempted to reconcile biblical creation with the theory of evolution. He was joint editor of Psalms and Hymns (1854) and Church Hymns (1871). While rec… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Behold, the Master passeth by!
Title: Behold, the Master Passeth By!
Author: William Walsham How (1871)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Behold, the Master passeth by! [St. Matthew's Day.] This is a cento by Bishop W. W. How, based upon Bishop Ken's hymn for the same day, and first published in Church Hymns, 1871, No. 183, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and Taring's Collection, 1882, No. 510. It is thus composed:—
Stanza i.—iii. Original by Bp. How.
Stanza iv.-vi. By Bishop How from Bp. Ken, whose original stanzas are:—

Ken. stanza xii. "From worldly clogs, bless'd Matthew loose,
Devoted all to sacred use,
That, Follow Me, his ear
Seem'd every day to hear,
His utmost zeal he strove to bend.
Towards Jesus' likeness, to ascend.

stanza xx. "God sweetly calls us every day,
Why should we then our bliss delay
He calls to endless light,
Why should we love the night?
Should we one call but duly heed,
It would to joys eternal lead.

stanza xxiv. "Praise, Lord, to Thee, for Matthew's call,
At which be left his wealthy all;
At Thy next call may I Myself and world deny;
Thou, Lord, even now art calling me,
I'll now leave all, and follow Thee."

Bishop Ken's hymn appeared in his Hymns for all the Festivals of the Year, 1721 (ten years after his death): and again in the same work, republished as Bishop Ken's Christian Year, by Pickering, in 1868.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Henry Kemble Oliver (b. Beverly, MA, 1800; d. Salem, MA, 1885) composed FEDERAL STREET in 1832, possibly as an imitation of earlier psalm tunes in long meter. He took it to a music class taught by Lowell Mason (who may have contributed to the harmony); Mason (PHH 96) published it in his Boston Acade…

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