“Greenfields (How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours)”


"How tedious and tasteless the hours When Jesus no longer I see; Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers Have all lost their sweetness to me. The midsummer sun shines but dim, The fields strive in vain to look gay...."


The uncertainty about the authorship of this hymn derives from the fact that many early sources do not credit it. The earliest record seems to be _The Original Sacred Harp_, which credits John Newton in his book _Olney Hymns_, 1779. The tune is "Delights in Christ." - PJS, RBW

(The Missouri Harmony version, to the tune "Greenfields," precedes the Sacred Harp publication, but with no author listed. Note that there is another tune, "Greenfield," in the Missouri Harmony; it's not the same. The Missouri Harmony also sets the words to the tune "Harpeth.")

Moderns, of course, will know it (if at all) to the tune "Greenfields." The Sacred Harp also sets this to the tune "Edgefield," by J. T. White, but that version seems less popular.

For background on JohN Newton, see the notes to "Amazing Grace." - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "Delights in Christ (tune)"
  • cf. "Edgefield" (same words, different tune)


  • Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee, "Greenfields" (on OldHarp01)


  1. Randolph 625, "How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Sandburg, p. 154, "Greenfields" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #3385
  4. BI, San154


Author: John Newton?
Earliest date: 1779? (published with tune in 1808 in the Missouri Harmony)
Found in: US(So)