This hymn is dedicated to my beloved patron saint, St. Philip Neri.
This is the full, original text from an 1852 edition of Fr. Faber’s hymnal Jesus and Mary. It is listed under the title “St. Philip’s Picture” in that hymnal:
Saint Philip! I have never known
A Saint as I know thee;
For none have made their wills and ways
So plain for men to see!
I live with thee; and in my toil
All day thou hast thy part,
And then I come at night to learn
Thy picture off by heart.
O what a prayer thy picture is!
Was Jesus like to thee?
Whence hast thou caught that lovely look
That preaches so to me?
Sermon and prayer thy picture is!
And music to the eye,
Song to the soul, a song that sings
Of whitest purity!
A blessing on thy name, dear Saint!
Blessing from young and old,
Whom thou in Mary’s gallant band
Hast winningly enrolled!
If ever there were poor man’s Saint,
That very Saint art thou!
If ever time were fit for thee,
Dear Saint! that time is now!
Philip! strange missioner thou art,
Biding so still at home,
Content if with the evening star
Souls to thy nets will come!
If ever spell could make hard work
Profit and pastime be,
That spell is in thy coaxing ways,
That magic is in thee.
Sweet-faced old Man! for so I dare,
Saint though thou be on high,
To name thee, for thou temptest love
By thy humility,
Sweet-faced old Man! what are thy wiles
With which thou winnest men?
Art thou All Saints within thyself?
If not, what art thou then?
John’s love of Mary thou hast got;
Thy house is Mary’s home;
And then thou hast Paul’s love of souls,
With Peter’s love of Rome.
Thy heart that was so large and strong
It could not quiet bide,
O was it not like His that beats
Within a wounded Side?
Saint of the over-worked and poor!
Saint of the sad and gay!
Jesus and Mary be with those
Who keep to thy true way!
O bless us, Philip! Saint most dear!
Thine Oratory bless,
And gain for those who seek thee there
The gift of Holiness!
Words: Fr. Frederick William Faber, C.O., 1849.
Tune: “Clonmel” Irish Melody.