This hymn comes from Hymns By Frederick Faber, D.D. (1871 edition) and is under the title St. Philip Neri (who, as my patron saint, is near and dear to my own heart).
Dear Father Philip! holy Sire!
We are poor sons of thine,
Thy last and least,—then to our prayers
A father’s ear incline.
We wandered weeping heretofore
For many a long, long day ;
But thou hast taught us how to mourn
In thy more tender way ;
To mourn that God of all His sons
So little loved should be ;
To mourn that mid the world’s cold hearts
None were more cold than we ;
To mourn, and yet to joy and love,
With overflowing heart,
And in thy school of Christian mirth
To bear our humble part.
Gay as the lark at morning’s door,
Singing its fearless song ;
Yet plaintive as the dove that mourns
In secret all day long ;
Busy and blithe in hidden cell,
Or crowded street no less,
We use thy modest wiles to save
The world by cheerfulness.
Mid strife and change, cold hearts and tongues,
How much we owe to thee!
This sunny service! who could dream
Earth had such liberty.
Look at the crowds of this sweet land,
Dear Father Philip! see
How shepherdless they wander on,
How lone, how hopelessly!
Then make us sons of thine indeed,
Fill us with thy true mirth,
Thy strength of prayer, thy might of love,.
To change these hearts of earth.
By thee for Mary’s household hired,
May burning heart and word
So preach her, that her name may be
In England* like a sword.
And oft above our shrines be seen,
In humblest garments swathed,
Our God and King, while every eye
In speechless tears is bathed.
May crowds, like reeds before the wind,
In utter love bow down,
In utter love and faith before
His sacramental throne ;
While from His known and kingly eye
Bright streams of blessing part,
And rain like sunbeams far within
The rapt and trembling heart.
In Philip’s name, in Philip’s way,
To God and Mary true,
In this our own dear native land
Good work we fain would do.
To this our own dear native land
We welcome thee today ;
Dread Father! come and toil with us
In thine own trustful way.
Jesus and Mary be the stars
That shine for us on high :
God and St. Philip! brothers! be
Our gentle battle-cry.
By haughty word, cold force of mind,
We seek not hearts to rule;
Hearts win the hearts they seek! Behold
The secret of our school!
By winning way, by playful love,
Our wonders will we do,
The playfulness of such as know
Their faith alone is true.
By touch and tone, by voice and eye,
By many a little wile,
May cold and sin-bound spirits own
In us our Father’s guile!
Dear Father Philip! give to us
Thy manners gay and free,
Thy patient trust, thy plaint of prayer,
Thy deep simplicity.
*I substitute “our land” here for those of us who live outside of England.
Words: Fr. Frederick William Faber, C.O., 19th C.
Tune: “Binchester” William Croft, 1707.