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Updated 05/29/2013


Go to Dark Gethsemane

James Montgomery

The lyrics to “Go to Dark Gethsemane” were written by James Montgomery (1771-1854).  James Montgomery was a British editor and poet.  Montgomery, poet, son of a pastor and missionary of the Moravian Brethren, was born at Irvine in Ayrshire on November 4 1771, and educated at the Moravian School at Fulneck, near Pudsey in Leeds. After various changes of occupation and abode, he settled in Sheffield in March 1792 as clerk to Joseph Gales on the 'Sheffield Register' newspaper. On July 4th 1794 he launched and edited the Sheffield Iris, and was twice imprisoned (in 1795, and again in 1796) for political articles for which he was held responsible. In 1797 he published Prison Amusements; but his first work to attract notice was The Wanderer of Switzerland (1806). It was followed by The West Indies (1809), The World before the Flood (1812), Greenland (1819), and The Pelican Island (1828), all of which contain passages of considerable imaginative and descriptive power, but, according to literary analysts, are lacking in strength and fire. He himself expected that his name would live, if at all, in his hymns, and in this his judgment has proved true. Some of these, such as "For ever with the Lord", "Hail to the Lord's Anointed", "Angels from the Realms of Glory, and "Prayer is the Soul's Sincere Desire", are sung wherever the English language is spoken. Probably his best-known poems are the one commemorating Arnold Winkelried and "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". Montgomery was a good and philanthropic man, the opponent of every form of injustice and oppression, and the friend of every movement for the welfare of the race. His virtues attained wide recognition.

Richard Redhead

The ed­it­ing of his pa­per, the com­po­si­tion and pub­li­ca­tion of his po­ems and hymns, the de­liv­ery of lec­tures on po­e­try in Shef­field and at the Roy­al In­sti­tu­tion, Lon­don, and the ad­vo­ca­cy of for­eign mis­sions and the Bi­ble So­ci­e­ty, gave great va­ri­e­ty, but very lit­tle of stir­ring in­ci­dent in his life, though he did find time to write 400 hymns. In 1833, Mont­gom­ery re­ceived a roy­al pen­sion of £200 per year.

The music was composed  by Richard Redhead and published in Church Hymn Tunes, An­cient and Mo­dern (Lon­don: 1853).  Redhead be­gan his mu­sic­al ca­reer as a chor­ist­er at Mag­da­len Coll­ege, Ox­ford. He went on to play the or­gan at Mar­ga­ret Cha­pel, Lon­don (later named All Saints Church, Mar­ga­ret Street). In 1864, he moved to St. Ma­ry Mag­da­lene, Pad­ding­ton, where he served as or­gan­ist for 30 years.

Lyrics by James Montgomery


Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see, watch with Him one bitter hour,
Turn not from His griefs away; learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

See Him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall! O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss; learn of Christ to bear the cross.

Calvary’s mournful mountain climb; there, adoring at His feet,
Mark that miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete.
“It is finished!” hear Him cry; learn of Jesus Christ to die.

Early hasten to the tomb where they laid His breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom. Who has taken Him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes; Savior, teach us so to rise.