Please give today to support during one of only two fund drives we run each year. Each month, Hymnary serves more than 1 million users from around the globe, thanks to the generous support of people like you, and we are so grateful. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made securely online using this link.

Alternatively, you may write a check to CCEL and mail it to:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless

Representative Text

1 Who is this, so weak and helpless,
child of lowly Hebrew maid,
rudely in a stable sheltered,
coldly in a manger laid?
'Tis the Lord of all creation,
who this wondrous path has trod;
he is God from everlasting,
and to everlasting God.

2 Who is this, a Man of Sorrows,
walking sadly life's hard way,
homeless, weary, sighing, weeping
over sin and Satan's sway?
'Tis our God, our glorious Savior,
who above the starry sky
is for us a place preparing,
where no tear can dim the eye.

3 Who is this? Behold him shedding
drops of blood upon the ground!
Who is this, despised, rejected,
mocked, insulted, beaten, bound?
'Tis our God, who gifts and graces
on his church is pouring down;
who shall smite in holy vengeance
all his foes beneath his throne.

4 Who is this that hangs there dying
while the rude world scoffs and scorns,
numbered with the malefactors,
torn with nails, and crowned with thorns?
'Tis our God, who lives forever
'mid the shining ones on high,
in the glorious golden city,
reigning everlastingly.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #330

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: Who is this, so weak and helpless
Title: Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless
Author: William Walsham How
Meter: D
Language: English
Notes: Spanish translation: See "Quién es este niño débil" by David Vater
Copyright: Public Domain


Who is this so weak and helpless? Bishop W. W. How. [Life and Death of Jesus.] This very beautiful hymn in the form of question and answer, on the Life and Death of our Blessed Lord, was published in the 1867 Supplement to Morrell and How's Psalms & Hymns, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines. It was revised by Bishop How for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns, 1871. It is found in a large number of modern hymnals.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



John Ambrose Lloyd (b. Mold, Flintshire, Wales, 1815; d. Liverpool, England, 1874) [composed] EIFIONYDD. The tune...appeared in Ieuan Gwyllt's (John Roberts's) important tune book Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol (1859). Largely self-taught, Lloyd was a major presence in the Welsh music scene of his day. H…

Go to tune page >


EBENEZER (Williams)



The Cyber Hymnal #7424
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 6 of 6)

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #748

Hymns Old and New #556


The Cyber Hymnal #7424

TextPage Scan

The New English Hymnal #474

TextPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #239

TextPage Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #330

Include 47 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us