It was written by Edward Caswall (1841-1878), an Anglican priest of the Oxford Movement who eventually embraced Roman Catholicism. He was a contemporary of Newman. The hymn first appeared in a collection published in 1851 by Caswall.
Caswall was the son of Ro�bert Clarke Cas�wall, Vi�car of Yate�ley. He at�tend�ed Chig�well Gram�mar School, Marl�bo�rough School, and Brase�nose Coll�ege, Ox�ford, where he grad�u�at�ed with hon�ors. Be�fore leav�ing Ox�ford, he pub�lished, un�der the pseu�do�nym of Scrib�ler�us Red�i�vi�vus, �The Art of Pluck,� in imi�ta�tion of Aris�to�tle, a sa�tire on the ways of the care�less col�lege stu�dent.
In 1838, Caswall was or�dained as a dea�con, and 1839 as an An�gli�can priest. In 1840 he be�came per�pe�tu�al cur�ate at Strat�ford-sub-Cas�tle near Sal�is�bury. By 1847, though, he had switched to Ro�man Ca�thol�i�cism and went to the Or�a�tory of St. Phil�ip Ne�ri at Edg�bas�ton, where he did most of his hymn work. Cas�wall is best re�mem�bered as a trans�lat�or of an�cient hymns, though he al�so wrote orig�in�al ly�rics. His works in�clude:
Sermons on the Seen and the Un�seen, 1846
Lyra Ca�thol�i�ca, 1849
The Masque of Ma�ry, and Other Po�ems, 1858
The Ca�tho�lic�s La�tin In�struct�or in the Prin�ci�pal Church Of�fic�es and De�vo�tions
The tune it is most often sung to: Humility, was written by John Goss (1800-1880) who was organist at St. Paul's Cathedral in London from 1838 till his death.