Lord Jesus, Think on Me

Lord Jesus, Think on Me (An Anthem for SATB Chorus and Organ) was composed in May 2006. It is dedicated to my friend and colleague, David Pegg, in celebration of both his 2005 retirement after nineteen years as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Greensboro, NC-based professional choral ensemble, Bel Canto Company, as well as for his continuing work as Director of Music at Centenary United Methodist Church, Winston-Salem, NC.

The anthem’s ancient text is by Synesius of Cyrene (ca. 375 – 430), who was made Bishop of Ptolemais around 410 only several years after his conversion to Christianity. He was born to wealthy parents and became a highly cultured man. Synesius’s Lord Jesus, Think on Me is the last of a set of ten odes. The current English translation from the original Greek was created by Allen W. Chatfield (1808-1896) and first published in Chatfield’s Songs and Hymns of the Earliest Greek Christian Poets, 1876. Chatfield himself stated that his translation was “as a paraphrase or amplification, rather than an exact translation of the original.” Ethel Porter, in her Guide to the Pilgrim Hymnal, observes that Chatfield’s translation “gives a more somber cast to Synesius’ thought than the original Greek lines.”

While reflecting the dark and austere quality of Chatfield’s well-known translation, my choral setting of it also seeks to convey the poem’s lyrical beauty, as well as the brightness and joy that is beautifully expressed in the final verses of the poem.

Duration : ca. 3 minutes

Dan Locklair
May 2006
Winston-Salem, NC

Text:

Lord Jesus, think on me,
and purge away my sin;
from harmful passions set me free,
and make me pure within.

Lord Jesus, think on me,
with care and woe oppressed;
let me thy loving servant be,
and taste thy promised rest.

Lord Jesus, think on me,
nor let me go astray;
through darkness and perplexity
point thou the heavenly way.

Lord Jesus, think on me,
that, when the flood is passed,
I may the eternal brightness see,
and share thy joy at last.

Synesius of Cyrene (5th Century)
Translation by Allen William Chatfield (1875)