William Garrett Horder.

The hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody online

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University LiSrA«y,''
OEC V^ 1896




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Old Testament, Crown 6to, 622 pp., 78. 6d. ; New Testament, Crown 8vo,
684 pp., 69.

" It would be difiBcolt to find a more interesting, and, we might say, Taloable
Tolmne, than * The Poets' Bible.' It should be in all libraries."— ^i>ec(ator.

"A work of exceptional interest."— ^<. Janus' » OoMetU.

" Two remarkable volumes."— 5tor.

"A welcome addition to the library of ererv cultured reader."— C*rution

" A thoroughly good and careful hook.**— British Weeldjf,

"We earnestly commend the book." —Nonconformist.

"A work never before attempted is here successfully done."— i>aJ7y News.

" Will be favourite books with ministers."- Bxv. C. H. Spuboeon, in Sword
and Trowel.

** Nobly representative of Christian poetry."— iSeoteman.

Wm. Ibbister, Limitbo, 15 & 16, Tavistock Street, Covent Oarden, W.C.


Thoughts for the Perplexed and Troubled. Crown 8vo, 200 pp., 2s. 6d.
Cheap Edition, Is.

"Well worth reading."— (TAwrc* Times.

** A book of Hpedal value." — Christian World,

" A good and timely and beautiful hooli..**— Baptist.


A Hymnal for the Free Churches. Long Primer edition, from 2s. to
7s. 6d. ; Ruby edition, 8d. to 6s. Special terms to congregations may
be secured on application to the Editor, St. John's, Wood Grsbm, N.

" An honour to English hymnologv."—C%ri«ltafi World.

" A very good and interesting addition to the hymnology of the present
century."— -^J^c/ator.

"The most notable British collection of late years."— ^etc; Tork Independent,

" An unrivalled compendium."— Li>rarj)r World.

" A valuable addition to pure Christian Psalmody."— (7%m<uzn.

" So excellent as to be a veritable curiosity in H^nnals." — Christian Age.

"The best selection in the English language. There is not a poor verse or
hymn in it." — Dundee Advertiser.

" By far the best which has come under our notice."— Dr. Parker, in the
Christian Chronicle.

" In our opinion the best collection ever published."— CArwrton World Pulpit,

Eluot Stock, 62, Paternoster Bow.


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EdUor of " Tht ToO^ BibU,** " Congregational Hymns** " The Book of PralM
/or Ohildren." Author of* la There a Future Li/ef "

'.t » I II

* ^ ' ,».

J tft«k ''*«'»* «



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Poetry! tium sweet'tt content
That e'er Heayen to mortals lent!

I do but dng beoauM I must.
And pipe but as the linnets sing.

Geobob Withbb.

Altbbd Tbxnysov.

The flnt true worship of the world's great King
From iffiTate and sewoted hearts did spring.

Hbitbt Vaughan.

The gift, whose office is the Giver's praise,
To trace Him in His word, His works, His ways!
Then spread the rich discovery, and invite
Manlrind to share in the divine delight.


Ood sent His ringers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth.
That they might touch the hearts of men.
And bxixig them back to heaven again.

Hbiibt Wadbwobth Lonofbllow.

There are in this loud stunning tide

Of human care and crime,
With whom the melodies abide

Of the everlasting chime ;
Who carrv music in the heart.
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
Flying their lowly task with busier feet
Because their secret souls a holy steain repeat.


Yet, when I remember the tears I shed at the Psalmody of Thy Church,
in the beginning of mv recovered faith; and how at this time I am moved,
not with the singing, but with the things sung, when they are sung with
a dear voice and modulation most suitable, I aSmowledge the neat use of
this institution. Thus I fluctuate between peril of pleasure s^ approved
wholesomeness, inclined the rather (though not as pronouncing an inevoc-
able opinion) to approve of the use of smging in the Churdi ; that so by
the delight of the ears, the weaker minds may rise to the feeling of
devotion. Yet when ft befalls me to be more moved with the voice &an

• •••••• • I'tfWTQidsjiinigi J goT^en to have sinned penally, and then had rather not

: : .•; pe^musio^-^TravsiixB ("Confessions*'}.

• • • • • • • •• • •! * • •

^Vt»nhip«i#la!fUL8Ctodent wonder— wonder for which there is no limit

• • •• , or |:)(Mug]y:e^; that is worship.— ThokasCabltlb.

V * • : /*\ yiib^i church full of nraise, and it wiU be full of Ood. God and His
• • • • pMusetaanol^ apart. "0 Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel "


• •• ••• ••• ••• ••• • •• • ••• ,••

* •;• • ;a gtod hfmt U'%puq/^ valuable contribution to Christian literature

• > I •••* i|u4^«t»<H.'<9^ OfAtteokwy : for it will sing to the ages after the tomes

are moulaermg on the shelves.— B. H. Sbabs.


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This book has been written at the request of the
Publishers, who, in common with myself, discerned
the need for a work which should put within the
reach of the ever increasing number of persons
interested in the subject, an account of the rise and
growth of Hymnody in England. The large number
of enquiries I have received, especially from persons
desiring to illustrate the subject in Lectures or
Sermons, shows how widespread is the interest in
regard to hymns ; whilst the difficulty I have felt in
naming any one book as likely to meet such need
forced on my own mind the conviction that some
such work as the present was required. When such
enquiries have recu^hed me I have been compelled to
give the titles of a considerable nimiber of works
which treat of the subject, some of which are out of
print, and others difficult to obtain save at con-
siderable cost.

Moreover, all existing books with which I am
acquainted, either deal with a portion only of the
subject, or if they deal with the whole, do so more
after the manner of works for reference than for
continuous reading. I am not acquainted with a
single book which even attempts to give a connected

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view of the whole subject, in such a way as to serve
as an introduction to the study of Hynmody,
This is the task, which in these pages I have set before
myself; with what success must be left to the
judgment of my readers. I have, indeed, attempted
to provide such a book as I myself desired, but
failed to discover, when many years ago turned my
attention to the subject, and I eun not without hope
that the book thus written will furnish to many an out-
line which further reading and research may enable
them to fill in. I have appended a list of the
principal works on the subject for the benefit of those
who may desire to pursue the study still further.

Beyond this I have, in accordance, not only with
the wishes of the Publishers, but my own judgment,
treated the subject with such critical faculty as I
possess, in the hope that it may do at least a little
to elevate the public taste in relation to hymns.
Doubtless some will differ from certain of my
estimates; all I can claim is that they have been
carefully and honestly formed, and whether sound
or not, they may at least lead to a more careful
consideration of the words simg in worship than
has hitherto been usual.

It is strange that Hymns, which now form so
large a part of public worship, should not have been
made one of the subjects of study included in the
course prescribed for theological students, as is the


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Prayer Book in that of Colleges connected with the
Episcopal Church. Such a study would prove both
an interesting and useful eiddition to the present
course, and would probably be pursued with avidity
by a considerable proportion of candidates for the

Critical readers of these pages may perhaps
discern a want of proportion in the space given to
various writers. This has not been accidental but
of set purpose. Of Hymn -writers concerning
whom much has been previously written, such
as Isaac Watts or Charles Wesley, I have said
comparatively little ; only sufficient to indicate
their special characteristics, and the influence they
exerted. Of others, concerning whom little, if
anything, has been written such as T. H. Gill, and
T. T. Lynch, I have said more, in the hope that
their writings might thus be made more widely
known. My references to hymns have proceeded on
the principle that where they were well known it
was necessary to quote merely the first line ; where
they were little known to quote more fully — in some
cases, the whole, in others, the finest verses.

Many attempts have been made to give a defini-
tion of what a good hymn should be. Definitions
are proverbially difficult, and in the case of hymns
especially so. Lord Selbome in the preface to " The
Book of Praise,'' says : " A good hymn should have
simplicity, freshness, and reality of feeling; a


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oonsistent elevation of tone, and a rhythm easy and
hannonious, but not jingling or trivial. Its language
may be homely, but should not be slovenly or
mean. AfFeotation or visible artifioe is worse than
excess of homeliness: A hymn is easily spoilt by
a single falsetto note. Nor will the most exemplary
soimdness of doctrine atone for doggerel, or redeem
from failure a prosaio, didaotio style." This is
good, as far as it goes, but it does not go far enoiigh.
It does not discriminate between sacred poetry and
what is properly a hymn. It does not lay sufficient
stress on the poetic element as a vital necessity to a
hymn. Nor does it insist on poetic imity, and the
avoidance of mixed or incongruous imagery as vital
to hymns of the noblest kind; whilst it says
nothing of the need that hjonns should, in some one
part at least, be addressed to the Divine Being. It
seems to me that hymns of the noblest type should be
compositions addressed either in the way of praise^
prayer, confession, or communion to the great Object
of all worship. This is the real point of difference
between Hymns and Sacred Poetry — a hymn is a
piece of sacred poetry, but a piece of sacred poetry
is not of necessity a hymn ; it cannot rightly be
described as such imless at least the last of the
characteristics I have named be found in it.
Exceptions to this may be permitted in Hymnals, in
the case of verses calculated to kindle devotional
feeling ; but they must ever be regarded as exceptions.
Even when they are allowed, there is always, to the


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sensitiye mind, a kind of inoongruify in the singing
of versee addressed by the worshippers to one another,
or to a particular portion of the congregation supposed
to need the exhortations they contain, as in such hymns
as " Stand up, stand up for Jesus," or " Oto labour on,
spend and be spent." Still worse is it when a con-
gregation sings a whole hymn to the preacher as in
" Tell me the old, old story." Such hymns cannot
rightly be prefaced by the old formula which should
be applicable — " Let us sing to the praise and glory
of Gted." I am not prepared to say that such hymns
should be excluded from our collections for publio
worship ; on the principle that the object of worship
is to arouse devotional feeling, they may be included,
but they cannot rightly be regarded as hymns, and
their use should be the exception and not the rule.
The cardinal test of a hymn should be that it is in
some one, if not the whole of its parts, addressed to
God. The bulk of it may consist of description of
the soul's condition, or of the state it desires to reach^
or of the glory of nature or the tenderness of provi*
denoe ; but to make it a real hymn it must at least
conclude with words of confession or prayer or
thankfulness addressed to ^^ Him in whom we
Uve and move and have our being," that to all
going before may be given a Godward direction.

Of the subject matter of hynms, it may be said
that though the doctrine of the writer may, and
indeed must imderlie, it should not be presented in a


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doctrinal, much less a dogmatic form. In this respect
the Psalms are a model, for, in them, the doctrinal
conceptions of the writers are transfigured by the
depth and fervency of their religious feeling, A
hymn is not versified dogma. The dogma may be
there, but it must take on poetic and therefore un-
dogmatic forms. Many a noble hymn is sadly marred
by the introduction in some of its parts of theologic
phrases, such as " Q-od in three persons, blessed
Trinity," in Heber's otherwise splendid hymn, " Holy,
Holy, Lord Q-od almighty." Not a line analogous to
that can be found in the whole range of the Psalter.
In this line, the good Bishop ceases to be a poet and
becomes a theologian. Doctrine should be spoken
from the pulpit, not sung from the pew. The essence
of poetry is that it pierces to the heart of a subject —
the true poet is a Seer whose eye reaches through the
letter to the spirit. The true hymnist is in his
measure also a seer, and so first discerns and then
reveals in his verse, the hidden verities which lie
underneath the phrases in which doctrine is com-
monly expressed. He, of all men should realise
that " the flesh profiteth nothing" but only the inner
spirit of which the flesh is but the outward
expression. Thus the visible and external is trans-
figured by that which is unseen and eternal.

It is only another way of stating the same fact to
say that the poetic element must be present to render
rhymed lines a hymn. Ehyme is not poetry, but


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onlj jingling prose. There must be that unde-
finable element whioh we oall poetio — ^that happiness
and compactness of phrase which catches the ear,
lingers in the memory, and kindles the imagination ;
not in the larger and freer sense in which it is used in
poetry of a secular kind ; but within narrower limits
and of a more sober type, the poetic element must be
present, or the verses remain prose and cannot rightly
be called a Hymn. The hymn belongs to Lyric
rather than Didactic or Epic, Poetry, and should
have such aptness and melody of expression that the
words when said, as well as when sung, shall be
musical, shall, as the name * Lyric ' implies, have the
ring of the harp through them. Given this and
almost any metre may be allowed. In recent years
congregations have grown accustomed to a vast
variety of metres which have been skilfully utilised
by hymnists in their verse. This has given to
composers a wider musical field in which to work
and has been one great factor in rendering hymns so
popular an element in our modem worship.

Perhaps the limits which are desirable, as to
variety in metre, have now been reached Future
hymn-writers should find quite sufficient scope for
the exercise of their gifts within the very great
variety of metres in which their predecessors have
worked. If it should be extended much farther, the
number of tunes necessary for congregations to
learn in order to sing the hymns included in their


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collections, will exceed the capacity of all but select
and exceptionally musical ones, and perhaps of only
a certain number, even in such congregations. It is
not desirable that Psalmody should be thus restricted ;
it should rather be within the capacity of all wor-
shippers to bear a part therein.

As a general rule, it is well that each hymn should
be associated with a particular time — not of necessity
the same one in every congregation, since taste and
capacity greatly difEer — ^but this principle should not
be made too rigid, since a congregation tires more
quickly of a tune than a hymn, and a change of
tune will often give a new lease of life to, and keep
in use, a well-loved hymn, of which, if it were
always sung to the same tune, the people would tire.

Those who are responsible for the conduct of
Psalmody in the Church should be as familiar with
the Hymn-book as the Tune-book, so that, where they
possess liberty to set hymns to any tunes they
desire, their selection of tunes may be determined
by the substance and spirit of the hymns, and even
where the fixed-tune system is in vogue, they may
render the tune in a . style in full sympathy with
the sentiment of each verse of the hymn.

The pleasant duty remains of acknowledging the
valuable aid I have received from Mr. W. T. Brooke,
who has read the proof sheets of this volume as they
were passing through the press, and to whose wide


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knowledge of Hymnody I am indebted, both for
valuable suggestions and oorreotion of the pF00&.
I am also indebted to my friend the Rev. Robert
Bioards, who has felt the deepest interest in my task,
and helped me greatly to make my story more
clear to its readers. For information embodied in
the chapter on the Hymns of other religions, I am
indebted to kind communications from Sir Wm.
Muir, Professors Max Muller and Dr. James Legge,
of Oxford, Professor Owen, C. Whitehouse, M.A., of
Cheshunt College, the Rev. G. 0. Newport, of India,
and the late Mr. Paul Isaac Hershon. I have to
thank my friend, Mr. Arthur Boutwood, for pre-
paring the Indices.

Some small portions of this book had previously
made their appearance in the pages of The Sunday
Magazine^ The Christian World, and the Theological
Monthly. I am indebted to the proprietors of these
periodicals for permission to include such portions in
this work.

I trust that these pages will lead many to take a
more intelligent interest in the hymns they so often
tring — and serve to introduce hitherto unknown hymns
to their notice, and even do some little to elevate the
public taste which often has not been any too dis-
<2riminating. I shall be abundantly repaid for the
labour expended on this book if it should bear a
part, however small, in enabling any to comply with


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the injimction of the Psalmist, ^^ Sing ye praises
with understanding."

St. John's,

Wood Green, N.

October Ist, 18»9.

Since the chapters on ** Living Hymnists ** were printed*
two notable writers have passed away, viz., George Bawson,
in Mardi, and Horatiiis Bonar, in August, 1889.


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L — Htmks op Other Religions 1-12

n. — Htmns op the Old Testament 13-25

in. — Htmns op the New Testament 26-33

rV. — Hymns op the Early Chtrch 34-45

v.— Medijbval Hymns 46-63

VI.— The Metrical Psalms 64-70

Vn.— Early English Hymns 71-84

Vlll. — Increase op the Hymnic Faculty 85-96

IX. — ^The Foundations op English Hymnody 96-108

X.— The Lyric Fire 109-115

XI.—The Age op Echoes 116-122

Xn. — ^An Oasis in the Desert 123-126

Xin. — Didactic Hymnists 127-135

XrV. — Increase op Poetic Elements 136-216

XV.— Living Hymnists : 1 211-258

XVI.— „ „ n 259-313

XVn. — ,, „ Minor Contributors 314-335

XVm.— German Hymns 336-37

XIX.— French and Other Hymns 378-387

XX.— American Hymns 388-430

XXI.— Children's Hymns 431-471

XXn.— Mission Hymns 472-477

XXin.— Op Hymn Alterations 478-486

XXIV.— The New Era in Hymnody 487-509

Bibliography 510-511

Indices 513-524


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Page 33| line 23, for declare read declare*.

Page 86, chapter heading, for Hymnal read Bymnic,

Page 103, line 11, for pent read p«n.

Page 159, last line bat one, for hretui read hreaJi.

Page SOS, line 9, for Thee read Thou,

Page 276, line 88, for broodeei read broodedet.

Page 832, page numbering, for 822 read 882.

Page 889, line 6, omit But.

Page 847, line 7, for taken read when.

Page 382, line 29, for 1847 read 1867.

Page 898, line 29, for the heart read thy heart.

Page 401, line 14, before the Mahratta insert and.

Page 414, line 24, for a read that.

Page 486, line 21, omit comma after Deareet,

Page 463, line 6, for deeervee read deserve.

Page 476, last Une but one, for channiee read channels.


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Htxns are to be found in the literature of nearly
every religion, but so far as we are able to judge, save
in the Hebrew and Christian, they have rarely been
used as a constant and integral part of worship.

That hymns formed no part of the worship of the
Greeks is clear from the fact that their temples were
not constructed' as places of religious assembly or for
public devotion, but as a shelter for the image of the god,
and a habitation for the deity supposed to be attached to
his image. They were generally confined localities, and
half-dark within on account of the absence of all
window-light. Bright light was not required, as, in
fact, no religious observances ordinarily took place in
the temple.* ** Greece never had a sacred book, she
never had any s3rmbols, any sacerdotal caste, organised
for the preservation of dogmas. Her poets and her
artists were her true theologians."t Some small
place was assigned to hymns in the worship of Rome.

• Ddllinger, ** Gentile and Jew," I, 239.

Online LibraryWilliam Garrett HorderThe hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody → online text (page 1 of 37)