Father Frederick Faber (1814-1863) wrote this devotional hymn for children to pray to their Guardian Angels. Now, when I researched a melody for Dear Angel, Ever at My Side, I was surprised and overwhelmed to find at least 12 different melodies for the same hymn! It seemed like no one hymn ever “stuck”. How to choose? I finally settled on one by Vincent Novello (1781-1861) because it seemed easier to sing than most others.
(Different title, same hymn tune. The organist gives a little introduction before the first verse.)
1. Dear Angel ever at my side
How loving must thou be,
To leave thy home in heaven to guide
A little child like me.
2. Thy beautiful and shining face
I see not, though so near;
The sweetness of thy soft low voice
I am too deaf to hear.
3. I cannot feel thee touch my hand
With pressure light and mild,
To check me, as my mother did
When I was but a child.
4. But I have felt thee in my thoughts
Fighting with sin for me:
And when my heart loves God, I know
The sweetness is from thee.
5. And when, dear Spirit! I kneel down
Morning and night to prayer
Something there is within my heart
Which tells me thou are there.
6. Yes! when I pray, thou prayest too
Thy prayer is all for me;
But when I sleep, thou sleepest not,
But watchest patiently.
7. But most of all I feel thee near,
When, from the good priest’s feet,
I go absolved, in fearless love,
Fresh toils and cares to meet.
8. Ah me! how lovely they must be
Whom God has glorified:
Yet one of them, O sweetest thought!
Is ever at my side.
9. And thou in life’s last hour wilt bring
A fresh supply of grace,
And afterwards wilt let me kiss
Thy beautiful bright face.
10. Then for thy sake, dear Angel! now
More humble will I be:
But I am weak, and when I fall,
Oh, weary not for me:
11. Oh, weary not, but love me still,
For Mary’s sake, thy Queen:
She never tired of me, though I
Her worst of sons have been.
12. She will reward thee with a smile;
Thou know’st what it is worth!
For Mary’s smiles each day convert
The hardest hearts on earth.
13. Then love me, love me, Angel dear!
And I will love thee more;
And help me when my soul is cast
Upon the eternal shore.
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