1000 Songs/Shepherd of Eager Youth (Clement of Alexandria)
Shepherd of Eager Youth (Clement of Alexandria)
Shepherd of eager youth, guiding in love and truth through devious ways; Christ our triumphant King, we come thy Name to sing and here our children bring to join thy praise.
Thou art our holy Lord, the all-subduing Word, healer of strife. Thou didst thyself abase that from sin's deep disgrace thou mightest save our race and give us life.
Thou art the great High Priest; thou hast prepared the feast of heavenly love; none calls on thee in vain, thee who didst not disdain help in thy mortal pain, help from above. Ever be thou our guide, our Shepherd and our pride, our staff and song; Jesus, thou Christ of God, by thy perennial word lead us where thou hast trod, make our faith strong.
So now, and till we die, sound we thy praises high and joyful sing; let all the holy throng who to thy church belong, unite and swell the song to Christ our King.
Clement of Alexandria wrote the text to Shepherd of Eager Youth circa A.D. 200. It is probably the first Christian hymn whose author is known.
Originally written in Greek, Shepherd of Eager youth was first translated into English by Henry Martyn Dexter in 1846
"Eager" a (from 4235 /práos, "before, in front of" and 2372 thymós, "passion") – properly, "before-passion" referring to someone who is already being willing, i.e. an eager disposition which is pre-inclined (already "ready and willing")
There is also the small issue of much old English in the text, (thou, thee, thy, dost, etc.). This can be easily remedied by replacing the old english with more modern pronouns. Thus this hymn text could be easily adapted to fit a modern worship scenario, as is demonstrated below.
Andrea Ullom, Rebeka Drew, Matthew Christie, Bryan Meese
Shepherd of tender youth,
guiding in love and truth
Through devious ways;
Christ, our triumphant king,
We come your name to sing
And here our children bring
To join your praise
You are holy Lord,
The all-subduing Word,
Healer of strife.
You give us life
You are the great High Priest;
You have prepared the feast
Of holy love;
And in our mortal pain
None calls on You in vain; Our pleas do not distain;
Help from above.
Holy Lord, holy Lord, holy Lord
(You give life)
Giver of life.
Here is a recording of the new setting. Shepherd of Eager Youth
Alternate tunes can be found here
Although OLIVET is somewhat less familiar than the other tune options mentioned above, it fits the text best.