Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
DESCRIPTION: "Savior, like a Shepherd lead us, Much we need thy tender care." "Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast bought us." "Keep thy flock; from sin defend us." "Thou has loved us, love us still."
AUTHOR: Words: unknown (see NOTES) / Music: William B. Bradbury
EARLIEST DATE: 1836 (Thrupp, Hymns for the Young)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad shepherd
REFERENCES (2 citations):
ADDITIONAL: Charles Johnson, One Hundred and One Famous Hymns (Hallberg, 1982), pp, 136-137, "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" (1 text, 1 tune)
Robert J. Morgan, _Then Sings My Soul, Book 2: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories_, Nelson, 2004, pp. 64-65, "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: I know of no field collections of this song, but I've heard enough old-time recordings that I decided to include it.
There seems to be no question that William B. Bradbury (1816-1868) composed the music; according to Reynolds, p. 188, Bradbury published the text with his new tune in Oriola in 1859. The tune sometimes goes by the name "Bradbury" as a result. But the author of the words is open to question. Julian, p. 996, notes that the earliest surviving publication is in the fourth edition of Dorothea Ann Thrupp (1779-1847), Hymns for the Young, published in 1836. But Thrupp, who wrote a certain amount of religious poetry, did not sign this particular piece (Reynolds, p. 444, says that none of the pieces were signed.). Some -- e.g. McKim, p 270 -- have attributed it to her even so. In 1838, W. Carus Wilson's June edition of Children's Friend has it with the author listed as "Lyte," and the next publication lists "H. Lyte" (Henry Francis Lyte). The next two publications did not list an author. Julian's conclusion: "The most that we can say is that the evidence is decidedly against Miss Thrupp, and somewhat uncertain with regard to Lyte as the writer of the hymn."
There are several Biblical allusions to Jesus (or, at least, the Messiah) as shepherd, but the main one is John, chapter 10, including 10:11, "'I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.'"
Reynolds, pp. 271-272, reports that Bradbury was born in York, Maryland in 1816; his family moved to Boston in 1830; starting in 1840, he worked as organist for various churches. He studied in Europe for two years starting in 1847. He and his brother formed the Bradbury Piano Company in 1859. Between 1841 and his death in Montclair, New Jersey on Jan. 7, 1868, he had a part in publishing fully 59 musical collection. Reynolds counts nine Bradbury pieces in the Baptist hymnal, making him one of the most popular nineteenth century hymn-writers. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
- Julian: John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes)
- McKim: LindaJo H. McKim, Presbyterian Hymnal Companion, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993
- Reynolds: William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976
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