Greeting on the departure of W.S. Philips

Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003). 

O3 JONES, Dewi Elfed. Annerchiad ar ymadawiad W. S. Phillips a J. Davis, ynghyd â lliaws o’r Saint, i dir Seion. (Greeting on the depar­ture of W. S. Phillips and J. Davis, together with a host of the Saints, to the land of Zion.) Llanelli: John Thomas, Printer, [1854?].

4 pp. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 74.

There are fourteen verses of eight lines each to Greeting, verses which were to be sung to the tune of “Ye banks and braes.” The depar­ture of William Phillips and John Davis, for which occasion the song was composed, took place on 27 January 1854 from Liverpool on board the Golconda. Although Greeting bears no date, it was most likely published a few weeks (or at least a few days) before the departure of Phillips and Davis from Wales.

Dewi Elfed Jones, the author’s name, is the pseudonym of David Bevan Jones, a colorful figure in Church history. Before his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jones had been an ordained Baptist minister for the Gwawr Chapel in Aberdare, about seven miles from Merthyr Tydfil (see Millennial Star, 1 April 1851 [pp. 109–10] and 1 June 1851 [pp. 172–73] for an account of his conversion). The fact that William Phillips had been instrumental in Jones’s conversion would explain the almost desperate emotion throughout this farewell poem.

Greeting on the Departure of W. S. Phillips and J. Davis,

Together With A Host of the Saints to the Land of Zion.

By Dewi Elfed Jones, Llanelli.

Tune—”Ye Banks and Braes.”

1 Beautiful Old Wales—”The Green Isle,”

A hundred times it has been my pleasure

To compose a sweet song for thee,

By the light of the moon on the seashore;

Behold, thy sons are now forsaking thee,

Having warned thee for a long time,

That some great vengeance will come upon thee,

If thou dost not happily embrace the TRUTH.

2 Oh, dear brethren, it is so difficult for me

To say farewell to you now,—

I cannot forget what has been—

My love for you is great:

TO ZION yonder is your course,

Your happy hour has neatly come;

I too am waiting for the day,—

Oh, dear brethren, FAREWELL, FAREWELL!

3 Now go rejoicing from Wales,

You are now clean from the blood of her children,

And the peace of God beneath your breast,

And the sound of your song like a sweet chord:—

The field you have sown is now growing—

There is a plentiful crop for you,

Whilst the tiresome and stubborn reap woe,

You reap enjoyment everywhere.

4 Throughout the cycle of your great labor,

You were brave on behalf of the SAINTS;

At last, yes, there broke the dawn,

Of your freedom, Oh, wondrous privilege!

Over the waves of the ocean and all its tumult,

May the Lord’s protection guide your life,

May you be free and unfading,

Is the resounding sentiment of my heart.

5 May God’s angels, every night and day,

Guard the way of your arduous journey,

Until you reach ZION, where

Your welcome will be great, in sweet voice;

After resting there in her breast,

Under the peace and justice of God,

Oh, remember one of true heart,

Longing to be living there.

6 Your words to me have been like wine and milk

Amidst trouble, pain, and care,

As long as waves break on the beach

I shall love you with a pure heart.

When the enemy trampled me underfoot,

I found your teaching of great value,

And when he thirsted for my blood,

In the midst of weakness—I found strength!

7 My own complete self–denial

Was the cost of my joy!

I am strong in the power of my Heavenly Lord,

Despite causing loss to me in everything;

If I sold praise and great renown,

And respect and dignity from the world,

The treasure I now possess

Is a million times better than all these.

8 That which was once profitable to me,

I now count, yes, a loss,—

For Truth’s sake—heavenly honor!

I sing in great oppression;

I rejoice about Zion yonder,

The root of my heart is there;—

I shall again happily shake hands

With those whom I love as myself.

9 It was like life to me to obey

All your wise counsel;

And it was a life of dear joy,

And great rejoicing for me;

But now there came a call for you

To hasten homeward,

And leave the land of great affliction,

For Zion—on the command of Heaven!

10 But still remaining are God’s servants,

And the power of the heavens is on their side,—

Their respect is as dear to me,

As the worth of my dear life:

In the strength of their advice is the ability

For me to hold out bravely for the truth,—

I shall keep it as long as I live,

And soon Zion will be my home.

11 Where I was in captivity, I am now free,

And peace fills my worthy breast;

While there is a sun, I shall remember the day

I felt through you the power of God.

Oh, dear brethren, I can do no less

Than shed a tear for you,—

I weep—do not blame me,—

I bear memories of longing.

12 I now have sweet tears,

It’s not sadness that oppresses my breast,

Rather joy for you,

I am happy for the day of your success.

Your tireless labor night and day,

To benefit the Saints throughout FAIR WALES,

In yonder ZION of free thought

Becomes a golden crown on your head.

13 Farewell, dear good friends,

Farewell, beautiful happy sisters,

Your journey is to a land a thousand times better,

Than any on the face of the whole earth;

Go, go joyfully, and may the sound of your song

Drown the tumult of all the waves of the sea,

Set yonder Zion alight

With the praise of your melodious Choir.

14 If for a short time I am

To bravely work in Babylon,

The day will come when I can say farewell,

And be free from its oppression;

Your course is to Zion yonder,

Your happy hour has happily come;

I too am waiting for the day,—

Oh, dear brethren, Farewell! Farewell!