When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.@Luke 15:20
Robert Lowry (1826–1899)

Robert Lowry, in The Fountain of Song, 1877 (🔊 pdf nwc).

A widowed lady of culture, about forty years of age, who was an accomplished vocalist, had ceased to sing, though her sweet voice was still in its prime. The cause was her sorrow for her runaway boy. She had not heard from him for five years. While spending a week with friends in a city distant from home, her hidden talent was betrayed by the friends to the pastor of their church, where a revival was in progress, and persuasion that seemed to put a duty upon her finally procured her consent to sing a solo.

The church was crowded. With a force and feeling that can be easily guessed she sang Where Is My Boy Tonight? and finished the first stanza. She began the second…and as the congregation caught up the refrain…a young man who had been sitting in a back seat made his way up the aisle and sobbed, Mother, I’m here! The embrace of that mother and her long-lost boy turned the service into a general hallelujah. At the inquiry meeting that night there were many souls at the Mercy Seat who never knelt there before—and the young wanderer was one.

Brown, pp. 446–47

Where is my wandering boy tonight—
The boy of my tenderest care,
The boy that was once my joy and light,
The child of my love and prayer?


O where is my boy tonight?
O where is my boy tonight?
My heart o’erflows, for I love him, he knows;
O where is my boy tonight?

Once he was pure as morning dew,
As he knelt at his mother’s knee;
No face was as bright, no heart more true,
And none was so sweet as he.


O could I see you now, my boy,
As fair as in olden time,
When prattle and smile made home a joy,
And life was a merry chime!


Go for my wandering boy tonight;
Go search for him where you will;
But bring him to me with all his blight,
And tell him I love him still.