This hymn without a refrain is called “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed” but if you sing it with a refrain its name is “At the Cross.” You may ask “why?” and the reason is that Isaac Watts never wrote this hymn with a refrain, just six four-lines stanzas. The melody for the “just verses” version is called MARTYRDOM, a Scottish folk tune.
The melody of the popular version for many believers is called HUDSON, named after its composer, Ralph E. Hudson. This version has the familiar refrain that starts with the words, “At the cross, at the cross.” The version with a refrain became very popular during tent revival meetings, where the music leader normally sang the verses of the hymn and the congregation (without a hymnal to follow the lyrics) sang the refrain alone.
No matter which version you sing or which version you like more, both have a very deep teaching about the perfect sacrifice that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made for us. Use this hymn as a devotional and praise the name of the Lord with it.
1 Alas! And did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?
2 Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
3 Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature's sin.
4 Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears;
dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.
5 But drops of tears can ne'er repay
the debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
'tis all that I can do.
In His service,