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by Lewis Hartsough
EnglishI Hear Thy Welcome Voice
Based onJohn 10:27
Meter6.6.8.6 with refrain

"Gwahoddiad" is a Welsh hymn of American origin.

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c bes g4 \fermata ees
f4. ees8 g f
ees2 \bar "||" r4^\markup \italic Chorus 
ees'4. d8 c8 bes8
bes4. g8 f ees
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\addlyrics { Mi glyw -- af dy -- ner lais, Yn ga -- lw arn -- af fi, I ddod a gol -- chi 'mei -- au gyd, Yn af -- on Cal -- fa -- ri. Ar --  glwydd, dy -- ma fi Ar dy al -- wad di, Golch fi'n bur -- lan yn y gwaed A gaed ar Gal -- fa -- ri. }
\addlyrics { I hear thy wel -- come voice, That calls me, Lord, to thee; For clean -- sing in thy prec -- ious blood, That flow'd on Cal -- va -- ry. I am com -- ing, Lord! Com -- ing now to thee! Wash me, cleanse me, in the blood That flow'd on Cal -- va -- ry! }
The melody of Gwahoddiad

"Gwahoddiad" (Welsh for 'invitation'), also known as Arglwydd Dyma Fi and by its first line Mi glywaf dyner lais, was originally the English-language gospel song "I Am Coming, Lord", the first line of which is I hear thy welcome voice. The English words and the tune were written in 1872 by the American Methodist minister and gospel songwriter Lewis Hartsough (1828–1919) during a revival meeting at Epworth, Iowa, where Hartsough was minister.[1] Hartsough was musical editor of The Revivalist, a collection of hymns which had begun in 1868 and continued through 11 editions. The English words with Hartsough's tune first appeared in the 1872 edition.[2]

The tune is in 3/4 time, with fermatas at the option of the songleader. The metrical pattern is 6686 with refrain 5576. The rhyme scheme is abcb; the second and fourth lines rhyme, whether in the verse or in the refrain.

In 1906 the American gospel singer and composer Ira D. Sankey wrote:

The words and music of this beautiful hymn were first published in a monthly entitled Guide to Holiness, a copy of which was sent to me in England. I immediately adopted it, and had it published in Sacred Songs and Solos. It proved to be one of the most helpful of the revival hymns, and was often used as an invitation hymn in England and America.[3]

The Welsh version Gwahoddiad was translated by Calvinistic Methodist minister and musician Ieuan Gwyllt (literally John the Wild, bardic name of John Roberts) (1822–1877). It has become so well known in Wales that, despite its American origin, many people believe it to be an indigenously Welsh hymn.[4]

"I Am Coming, Lord" is an invitation song, typically sung at the end of a sermon in evangelistic meetings. The tune is usually called WELCOME VOICE in American hymnals[5] and may be labeled CALVARY in British hymnals.[6] During World War I Hartsough expressed gratification not only for having heard the song in various languages but also for having learned of its popularity with soldiers in the trenches of Europe.[7]

Consider now the lyrics, with the Welsh version printed first.

Welsh words[edit]


The Roberts (Gwyllt) translation has four verses. The first verse is a virtual equivalent of Hartsough's original (see infra). Roberts essentially skipped Hartsough's second verse and then conflated the remaining three verses into similar but not verbatim thoughts matching Welsh to the metrical pattern of Hartsough's tune.[8]

Mi glywaf dyner lais,
Yn galw arnaf fi,
I ddod a golchi 'meiau gyd,
Yn afon Calfari.

      Arglwydd, dyma fi
      Ar dy alwad di,
      Golch fi'n burlan yn y gwaed[9]
      A gaed ar Galfari.

Yr Iesu sy'n fy ngwadd,
I dderbyn gyda'i saint,
Ffydd, gobaith, cariad pur a hedd,
A phob rhyw nefol fraint.

Yr Iesu sy'n cryfhau,
O'm mewn Ei waith trwy ras;
Mae'n rhoddi nerth i'm henaid gwan,
I faeddu 'mhechod cas.

Gogoniant byth am drefn,
Y cymod a'r glanhad;
Derbyniaf Iesu fel yr wyf,
A chanaf am y gwaed.

Original English words[edit]

Original publication of Lewis Hartsough's "I Am Coming, Lord!" (first line "I hear Thy welcome voice") from the 1872 edition of the Revivalist edited by Hartsough & Joseph Hillman and published by Hillman in Troy, New York. This English-language American gospel song became phenomenally popular in Wales as GWAHODDIAD (Welsh for "invitation").

"I Am Coming, Lord!" as it appeared in the Revivalist (1872, p. 231, No. 464):[10]

I hear thy welcome voice,
   That calls me, Lord, to thee;
For cleansing in thy precious blood,
   That flow'd on Calvary.

   I am coming, Lord!
      Coming now to Thee!
   Wash me, cleanse me, in the blood
      That flow'd on Calvary!

Though coming weak and vile,
   Thou dost my strength assure;
Though dost my vileness fully cleanse,
   Till spotless all, and pure.

'Tis Jesus calls me on
   To perfect faith and love,
To perfect hope, and peace, and trust,
   For earth and heaven above.

And he the witness gives
   To loyal hearts and free,
That every promise is fulfilled,
   If faith but brings the plea.

All hail! atoning blood!
   All hail! redeeming grace!
All hail! the gift of Christ, our Lord,
   Our strength and righteousness.

The theology of the fourth verse from Hartsough's original has attracted some clarification from editors. The Calvinist Roberts (Gwyllt) in the Welsh version simply massaged the concerns away via the translation. English-language editors who are unhappy with the theology have sometimes gone the way of B. B. McKinney in simply eliminating the verse[11] or Elmer Leon Jorgenson in revising it as follows:[12]

And He assurance gives
   To loyal hearts and true,
That ev'ry promise is fulfilled,
   To those who hear and do.[13]

American hymn editor William Jensen Reynolds asserted in 1976,[14] as he had done earlier, in 1964,[15] another verse, between the third and fourth verses above:

'Tis Jesus who confirms
The blessed work within,
By adding grace to welcomed grace,
Where reigned the power of sin.[16]

Notable recordings[edit]


  1. ^ "I Hear Thy Welcome Voice". 5 April 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Hillman, Joseph; Hartsough, Rev. L., eds. (1872). The revivalist: A collection of choice revival hymns and tunes. Troy, New York. p. 231., No. 464, with "I Am Coming, Lord!" indicated as title atop the score. The 1872 edition, first to bear this gospel song, had 336 pages including revised and enlarged indexes but was otherwise similar in appearance to the 1868 and 1869 editions.
  3. ^ Sankey, Ira David (1906). My life and the story of the gospel hymns. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 161–162.
  4. ^ Sean Curnyn, in his discussion of the quick spread and persistence of the song in Wales, writes that more than a century prior to the internet one might have said that Gwyllt's popularization of the song caused it to go "bacterial" even if then it could not go viral. Curnyn, Sean (2013-03-29). "Gwahoddiad—I hear thy welcome voice—Arglwydd Dyma Fi". Cinch Review. Retrieved 2014-06-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)[better source needed][self-published source]
  5. ^ Reynolds, William Jensen (1964). Hymns of our faith: A handbook for the Baptist hymnal. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press. pp. 80–81.
  6. ^ Watson, J. R. (2014). "I hear thy welcome voice". In J. R. Watson; Emma Hornby (eds.). Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Norwich, England: Canterbury Press. Retrieved 2014-07-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Metcalf, Frank J. (1925). American Writers and Compilers of Sacred Music. New York: Abingdon Press. pp. 312–313. Retrieved 2014-06-25. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Not an easy task, in translation. See dynamic equivalency.
  9. ^ Or "Canna f'enaid yn y gwaed" (an alternative translation).
  10. ^ Which is identical in every detail to this slightly later source: McCabe, Charles Cardwell; Macfarlan, D. T., eds. (1873). Winnowed hymns: a collection of sacred songs, especially adapted for revivals, prayer and camp meetings. New York and Chicago: Biglow & Main. p. 86. Retrieved 23 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ McKinney, Baylus B., ed. (1940). "I am coming, Lord". Broadman hymnal. Nashville: Broadman Press., No. 264.
  12. ^ Jorgenson, E. L., ed. (1937). "I hear Thy welcome voice". Great songs of the church, Number two. Chicago: Great Songs Press., No. 83.
  13. ^ Quoted from this contemporary hymnal which adheres mostly to Jorgenson: Wiegand, John P., ed. (1998). "I am coming, Lord". Praise for the Lord. Nashville: Praise Press. No. 263.
  14. ^ Reynolds, William Jensen (1976). Companion to BAPTIST HYMNAL. Nashville: Broadman. pp. 100–101. ISBN 0-8054-6808-0.
  15. ^ Reynolds, William Jensen (1964). Hymns of our faith. pp. 80–81.
  16. ^ That verse actually appears in all editions of Elmer Leon Jorgenson's Great songs of the church prior to 1937: Jorgenson, Elmer Leon (1921). Great songs of the church. Louisville: Word and Work. Jorgenson eliminated the verse in his 1937 edition, Great songs of the church Number Two. Cf. Forrest Mason McCann (1994), Hymns & history: An annotated survey of sources (Abilene: ACU Press), p. 573. ISBN 0-89112-058-0.