This is the text of this hymn as it appeared in the Second Edition of William Chatterton Dix’s “Altar Songs.” He gives it the heading “Corpus Christi, or Eucharist Thursday. Bread in the Wilderness.”
Now, my soul, rehearse the story
How the multitude was fed:
How for more than the five thousand
Christ the Lord a table spread:
How He stayed the faint, the hungry,
Who Himself is Living Bread.
Save five loaves and two small fishes,
In the desert food was none:
What were these among so many?
Yet they feasted every one,
And twelve baskets full of fragments
Gathered, when the meal was done.
In the desert art thou hungry?
Christ His loved ones calls to share
Banquet which Himself provides them
In His Church’s pastures fair:
See, Love’s banner floats to lure thee,
Enter, thou shalt find Him there.
Thousands find there Food for thousands,
None is sent unfed away,
There His Body duly broken,
Feeds the faithful day by day,
And the Pure Oblation offered,
Rises to the Throne for aye.
Still the unbelievers question:
Whence for you does God give bread?
What they see they pour contempt on;
Ah! is thus your Table spread—
This the Feast to Life Eternal,
Sacrifice for quick and dead?
Christ hath blessed and Christ hath broken,
Thus the soul is satisfied:
Still the hands anointed offer
What Himself hath sanctified :
Christ’s own Blood, His very Body,
Still the Forms created hide.
Words: William Chatterton Dix, 1867.