William Garrett Horder.

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

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children with hymns, but none with very great success.
John Burton, Dorothy Ann Thnipp, J. Cawood, and
others who belonged to the Evangelical school. The
leaders of the Tractarian movement felt the need of
hynms embodying their doctrine, and an attempt was
made in "The Child's Christian Year" (1841) to meet
the want, but this, though a pleasant book for reading,
was utterly unsuitable for use in schools. Its chief
contributors, John Keble, Joseph Anstice, Isaac Williams,
and John Henry Newman, did not possess the gifts for
such a work. In my judgment, though some will differ
from me on this point, the same may be said of Dr.
Neale's " Hymns for Children " ; they do not catch the
ear of children. Indeed, Dr. l^eele owes his distinguished
place, not to his original hymns, but to his versions from
ancient writers. I do not think a really popular hymn for
children can be named from any member of the High
Church party until 1848, when Mrs. Cecil Frances
Alexander put forth her " Hymns for Children," which at
once created a new school, and became its model.
She saw that hymns for children should not only be in
plain language, but that they should be picturesque,

* •• Biographical Notes on the New Child's Own Hymn Book,'*
by J. S. Cnrwen.


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pathetic, and not confined to the seyere metres which had
BO long held possession of the field. Before her there is
no writer, save Thomas Eawson Taylor, who fully realised
this. In some of her hymns, High Church doctrine is
prominent, and robs them of their beauty, but in the
majority, she writes so largely as a poetess, that formal
doctrine is not apparent. Her hymns are too well-known
to need quotation. The best are **Once in royal David's
City;" "Every morning the red sun"— to which Mr.
Moss's tune, "St. Silas," is one of the most exquisite
settings for a children's hymn ever produced ; " We
are but little children weak ; " " All things bright and
beautiful." One little known, and not included in her
published books, is the following, written for a clergyman
in Liverpool, which seems to me specially picturesque: —

Once in the town of Bethl^em,

Far away across the sea,
There was laid a little Baby,
On a Virgin mother's knee.
O Saviour ! gentle Saviour !

Hear Thy little children sing.
The Qod of our Salvation,
The Child that is our King.

It was not a stately palace

Where that little Baby lay.
With tail servants to attend Him,

And red guards to keep the way,
O Saviour I gentle Saviour ! d^o.

But the oxen stood around Him,

In a stable, low and ^dim —
In the world He had created.

There was not a room for Him !
O Saviour ! gentle Saviour ! Iec

For He lea His Father's glor}%

And tlie golden balls above,
And He took our human nature.

In the greatness of His love.

O Saviour ! gentle Saviour ! ^.


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Of His infinite compassion,

He can feel our ¥rant and woe,
For He suffered, He was tempV^d

When He lived our life below.

O Saviour ! gentle Saviour ! &c.

Still His childhood's bright example

Gives a light to our poor homes :
From the blood of His atoning

Still our hope of pardon comes.

O Saviour ! gentle Saviour ! dec.

Still He stands and pleads in heaven

For us weak and sin-defiled,
Qod who is a man for ever,

Jesus who was once a child.

O Saviour I gentle Saviour ! Ssc.

Esther Wiglesworth, who belongs to the same school

of religious thought, has produced some fme hym^is for

children, which deserve to be more widely known. The

following may be taken as an illustration : —

Qod sets a still small vdoe
Deep every soul within;
It guideth to the right,
And wameth us of sin.

If we that voice obey,
Clearer its tones ^vill be,
Till all God's will for us
Clear as noonday we see.

If we that voice neglect.
Fainter will be its tone ;
If still unheeded, it
Will leave us quite alone.

O grief! to be allowed
To go our own wild way ;
Lord, hold Thy children back,
Lest we so sadly stray.

And help us to attend
To Thy sweet voice divine ;
Then, in the judgment day,
Own us, good Lord, as Thine.

The Rev. John Curwen only wrote two hymns, one of

which had a curious origin. ** A hymn with a similar first

line had been inserted in a new edition of the ^' Child's

Own Hymn Book," without the knowledge that it was


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copyright. At the last moment, when the brium, msa
stereotyped, and the book was at press, Mr. Curwen
discovered the authorship, and permission to insert it
was refused, either for love or money, by the owner of
the copyright. As a way out of the difficulty, he wrote
this hymn, which now appears in almost every children's
collection. Its more extended popularity dates from the
time when it came back, with a tune and a chorus, from
America "* : —

I'm a little pilgrim,

And a stranger here ;
Though this world is pleasant,

Sin is always near.

[Jesus loves our pilgrim band,

He will lead us by the hand ;

Lead us to the better land —

To our home on high.]

Mine's a better country.

Where there is no sin,
Where the tones of sorrow

Never enter in.

But a little pilgrim

Must have garments cl«an,
If he'd wear the white robei»

And with Christ be seen.

Jesus, deanae and save me,

Teach me to obey ;
Holy Spirit, guide me

On my heavenly way.

I'm a little pilgrim,

And a stranger here,
But my home in heaven

Cometh ever near.

Mr. Curwen did much, however, to stimulate children's
hymnody by the publication of ** The Cliild's Own Hymn
Book," which, at the time it was issued, was far the most
suitable collection in existence. Indeed, I am not sure

* "Biographical Notes on the New ChUd's Own Hymn B)ok,"
by J. S. Curwen.


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that' i': is not the first collection which really deserved
such a title. Beyond many, even of our own day, it
kept in view the characteristics which should mark a
hymnal for children.

The most noteworthy of modem hymnista for children
are the following. I will take first the departed.

Among women hymnists, we have Mary Lundie Duncan
(1814-1840), the authoress of one of the best known of
children's hymns, " Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me,"
which was included in her tiny book, "Khymes for my
Children." This is probably more frequently used as a little
child's evening prayer than any other hymn.

Dorothy Ann Thrupp (1779-1847) is remembered by
one hymn, which used to be a great favourite with little
children, " A little ship was on the sea."

Anne Shepherd, nie Houlditch (1809-1857), wrote a
little book, *' Hymns adapted for the comprehension of
Infant Minds," in which was included "Around the
throne of God in heaven," which, when children sung
more about heaven, was a great favourite. It is very
lyric and effective.

Elizabeth Strafford's hymns are well adapted, in their

sentiment, for children, but they lack picturesqueness

and melody, and so have never become popular. Perhaps

the best is : —

Once to our world there came
A little holy child ;
Gentle and good and mild,
And JesoB was His name.

He suffered want and pain
Was slighted, scorned, and poor;
All this He did endure,
That we in heaven might reign.


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He never disobeyed
His Father's sadred laws ;
We onl J were the cause
Why gnef on Him was laid.

And yet He loves ns still ;
Nor grudges aoff ht we cost ;
No sinner would be lost
According to His wHl.

(>h I that indeed we oould
Our naughty ways forsake,
And for our pattern take
This Saviour kind and good.

The path that Jesus trod
Oh may we also tread,
Jesus, our living head,
Lead Thou us up to God.

Jane E. Leeson, who, after a period of retirement

from the world, passed away in 1883, wrote many verses

for children, which were included in "Hymns and

Scenes of Childhood " (1842). They are more remarkable

for the suitability of their ideas, than their form and

style, to the young. The following, which is her best

may serre as a specimen : —

Sweet the lessons Jesus taught.
When to Him fond parents brought
Babes for whom they blessing sought —
Little ones, like me.

Jesus did not answer nay.
Bid them come another day ;
Jesuj did not turn away

Little ones, like me.

No, my Saviour's hand was laid
Softly on each in&nt head ;
Jesus, when He blessed them, said
Let them come to Me.

Babes may still His blessing share :
Lambs are His peculiar care ;
He will in His bosom bear
Little ones, like me.

Saviour, on my infant head
Let Thy gracious hand be laid.
While I do as Thoo hast said,
Coming unto Thee.


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Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), of whom I have

already spoken, has written, as was to be expected, very j

good hymns for children. Her version of the Lord's j

Prayer is both tender and concise : — j

Qod in heaven, hear onr singing,

Only little ones are we,
Yet, a great petition bringing,

Father, now we come to Thee. !

Let Thy kingdom come, we pray Thee, |

Let the world in Thee find rest ;
Let all know Thee, and obey Thee,

Loving, praising, blessing, blest.

Let the sweet and joyfol story

Of the Saviour's wondrous love
Make on earth a song of glory,

Like the angels* song above.

Send Thy Spirit's mighty shower,

Bring the heathen to Thy Throne,
For the kingdom, and the power.

And the glory, are Thine own.

The following is rather an address to a child than a
hymn, but if that be overlooked, it is of great merit : —

God will take care of yon. All through the day
Jesus is near you, to keep you from ill ;
Waking or resting, at work or at play,
Jesus is with yon, and watching you still.

He will take care of you. All through the m'ght
Jesus, the Shepherd, His little one keeps ;
Darkness to Him is the same as the light.
He never slumbers, and He never sleeps.

He will take care of you. All through the year,
Crowning each day with His kindness and love ;
Sending you blessings, and shielding from fear,
Leading you on to the bright home above.

' He will take care of you. Yes. to the end
Nothing can alter His love for His own ;
Chttdren, be glad that you have such a Friend ;
He will not leave you one moment alone. o 2


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Among male authors we have-
John Henley (1800-1842), a minister of the Wesleyan
Church, wrote " Children of Jerusalem," a hymn
singularly crisp and effective, and greatly liked by

James Edmeston (1791-1867), already mentioned in a
previous chapter, wrote many hjnnns for children, of
which the best known is " Little travellers Zionwards,"
which is now made to commence with the second verse,
"Who are they whose little feet," which used to be
frequently sung in Sunday Schools.

Andrew Young (bom 1807), formerly Head-master of
Madras College, in the University of St. Andrews',
is the author of the very bright, and, ^n the whole,
healthy hymn on heaven, " There is a/ happy land."
** The story of the origin of this hymn, kindly
supplied by Mr. Colin Brown, of Glasgow, is
interesting. One of the songs which the Indian palan-
quin bearers sing as they go, was set to English words
about thirty years ago. It became very popnilar, its
burden being * There is a happy land, where care's
unknown.' This song was sung one evening by aUady in
Edinburgh, and heard by Mr. Young, then teacper of
Niddry School. Being much touched by the beawity of
the music, and of the opening idea of the words! Mr.
Young was led to write the exquisite hymn, * Therp is a
happy land, far, far away,' to suit the music."*

John Burton's (1808-1877) hymn, "Saviour, wh^e my
heart is tender," is one of the most tender and

♦ " Biographical Notes on the New Child's Own Hymnj Book,"
bv J. S. Curweii. *



OHILDEEN'8 HY2£N8. 451

hymns of consecration for the young we possess ; whilst
to another author of precisely the same name (1778-1822)
we owe the most popular children's hymn on the Bible,
beginning " Holy Bible, Book Divine."

Henry Bateman (1802-1872) published a little volume
of hymns for children, called ** Sunday Sunshine,"
remarkable for simplicity and naturalness of tone. It
is a pity that they are all in one metre, and of the
same number of verses, since this renders them some-
what monotonous ; but some of them are very good.
The use made of Scripture events is often very happy.
The following are amongst the best : —

In my soft bed, when quite alone,

God watches me with care :
Sees me at rising, kneeling down,

And listens to my prayer.

He follows me through all the day,

Knows everything I do :
Remembers every word I say,

My thoughts, and temper too.

If 1 am kind, God knows it well :

If I am cross. He hears :
A falsehood, from the truth, can tell :

He sees my smiles, and tears.

Great God, my footsteps guide, and bless,

That this to me may be
A thankfulness and happiness,

That, " Thou God seest me."

The thought of ike last verse is very fine. The following,
on the Bible, too, is good : —

The good old Book I witii histories

Of many a bygone ase ;
And promises and prophecies

On ahnost every page.

The glorious Psahns, so full of thought

And teaching good and wise I
And everywhere examples fraught

With human sympathies.


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The holy life uf Christ, our Lord,

His love so pure and free,
And every kind and genUe word

That helps and tei^es me.

Wonderful Book ! oh, fill my heart,

Great God, with Thy true fear :
And, as I read, Thy grace impart

To make it plain and clear.

Mr. Bateman also wrote a hymn for adults that is worthy
of a place in our collections : —

Light of the world ! whose kind and gentle care

Is joy and rest.
Whose counsels and commands so gracious are,

Wisest and best,
Shine on my path, dear Lord, and guard the way,
Lest my poor heart, forgetting, go astray.

Lord of my life, my soul's most pure desire.

Its hope and peace I
Let not the faith Thy loving words inspire

Falter, or cease ;
But be to me, true Friend, my chief delight,
And safely guide, that every step be right.

My hlessM Lord, what bliss to feel Thee near,

Faithful and true;
To trust in Thee, without one doubt or fear.

Thy will to do ;
And all the while to know that Thou, our Friend,
Art blessing, and wilt bless us to the end.

And then, oh then I when sorrow's night is o'er.

Life's daylight come.
And we are safe within heaven's golden door,

At home, at home !
How full of glad rejoicing will we raise.
Saviour, to Thee, our everlasting praise.

Bichard Henry Smith, the founder and minister of

Boveral Congregational churches, whose books on Art

were appreciative and suggestive, wrote a few hymns for

children. The one quoted below, for a littU child, is

remarkable for its simplicity : —

4.,^^I am a little diild,
^ And Jesus cares for me,
^ 1 For even me He wants
»^ ^ 4 ^ U^« <^d to be.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


Jesus would take me up,
And keep me on Hig knee,
And fold me in His arms,
His Uttle child to be.

And I will go to Him,
And I will let Him see
How glad 1 am to come,
His little child to be.

And I will stay with Him,
For Jesus wishes me,
Though I grow big and old,
His little diild to be.

Among authoresses still happily spared to us, we have :

Mrs. Shepcote, whose ** Hymns for Infant Children " is

well suited to those for whom it was written. The

following is probably the best : —

Jesus, holy, undefiled,

Listen to a little child,

Thou hast sent the glorious light,

Chasing £ur the silent night

Thou hast sent the sun to shine
O'er this glorious world of Thine,
Warmth to |ive, and pleasant glow
On each tender flower below.

Now the little birds arise,
Chirping gaHy in the skies ;
Thee their tiny Toioes pr&iscf
In the early songs they raise.

Thou, by whom the birds are fed.
Give to me my daily bread ;
And Thy Holy Spirit give,
Without Whom I cannot live.

Make me, Lord, obedient, mild,
As becomes a little child ;
All day long, in every way,
Teach me what to do and say.

Help me never to forget
That in Thy great book is set
All that children think and say.
For the awful Judgment Day.

Let me never say a word

That will make Thee angry, Lord ;

Help me so to live in love

As Thine angels do above.


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Make me, Lord, in work and play,
Thine more truly every day,
And when Thoa at last shall oome,
Take me to Thy heavenly home.

Emily E. S. Elliot is the authoress of two hymns which
are poetic and original in form. Both of them are on the
birth of Christ, and are deservedly popular. They should
be in every collection for children's use. To render them
still more widely known, I quote them : —

There oame a little Child to earth

Long ago !
And the angels of God proclaimed His birth,

High and low.

Oat in the ni^ht, so calm and still,

Their song was heard ;
For they knew that the Child on Bethlehem's hill

Was Christ the Lord.

Fur away in a goodly land.

Fair and bright,
Children with crowns of glory stand

Robed in white;

In white more pure than the spotless snow,

And their tongues unite
In the psalm which the angels sang long ago

On Christmas night.

They sing how the Lord of that world so fair

A Child was born ;
And that they might a crown of glory wear,

Wore a crown of thorn ;

And in mortal weakness, in want and pain,

Came forth to die ;
That the children of earth might for ever reign

With Him on high.

He hath put on His kingly apparel now.

In that goodly land,
And He leads to where fountains of water flow

That chosen band.

And for evermore, in their robes so ftir

And undefiled,
Those ransomed children His praise declare

Who was once a child.


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The second is equally suitable for those of riper age : —

Thoa didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown

When Thou earnest to earth for me :
But in Bethlehem's home was^there fouud no room
For Thy holy nativity.

O oome to my heart, Lord Jesns,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven's arches rang when the angels.sang,

Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
Bat in lowly birth Thou didst oome to earth.
And in great humility :

O come to my heart, Lord Jesns,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

The foxes found rest, and the birds had their nest

In the shade of the cedar tree;
But Thy conch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
Id the deserts of Galilee.

O oome to my heart, Lord Jesns,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word

That should set Thy people firee ;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvaiy:

O come to my heart. Lord Jesns,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

When heaven's arches shall ring and her choir shall sing

At Thy coming to victory.
Let Thy voice call me home, saying, •• Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for Thee " :

And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou oomest and callest for me.

Jemima Luke (bom 1813) is the authoress of the well-
known hymn, which deserves to be reckoned classic, ** I
think when I read that sweet story of old," and whicli
makes us wonder that she never followed it up by the
production of others. It was written in a stage coach,
for a village school near Poundsford Park, Bath, where
the writer's father resided.

Mrs. H. P. Hawkins, one of the Editors of **The
Home Hymn Book," which, both for its words and
their musical setting, deserves very high praise, ha&
written several hymns for children, all of which are


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tender and beautiful in a very high degree. Perhaps the
finest are the following. The first is for Evening : —

Kind Shepherd, see, Thy little lamb
Comes very tired to Thee ;

fold me in Thy loving arms,

And smile on me.

I've wandered from Thy fold to-day,

And could not hear Thee call,
And oh, I was not happy then.
Nor glad at aU.

1 want, dear Saviour, to be good.
And follow dose to Thee,

Through flowery meads and pastures green.
And happy be.

Thou kind, good Shepherd, in Thy fold

I evermore would keep.
In morning's light or evening's shade,
And while I sleep.

But now, dear Jesus, let me lay

My hejBwl upon Thy breast ;
I am too tired to tell Thee more,
Thou know'st the rest.

The second is for Morning : —

Thy little oue, O Saviour dear.

Has just awoke from sleep.
And through the coming day I know

Thou wUt in safety keep.

Thou hast been watching over me.

Through all the long, dark night :
The darkness is not dark to Thee,

Because Thou art the Light

I felt so safe and happy, Lord,

Although I could not see,
And softly whispered, ere I slept,

" O God, Thou seest me."

I think Thou'rt smiling on me now.

For all seems bright and ^lad.
But when I'm naughty. Saviour dear,

My heart is alwa}^ sad.

I want Thy kind and loving smile

To light me all the way ;
O, keep me, then, from doing wrong.

Or ^eving Thee to-day.


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E. C. W., who prefers to keep her anonymity, deserves
mention for the simplicity and tenderness of her hymns
for children. They were first included in my " Book of
Praise for Children." This, for Evening, is very
beautiful: —

Mv Father, hear my prayer

iBefore 1 go to rest ;
It is Thy little child

That oometh to be blest.

Forgive me all my bId,

And let me sleep this night
In safety and in peace

Until the morning light.

Lord, help me every day

To love Thee more and more,
And t IV to do Thy will

Much better than before.

Now look upon me, Lord,

Ere I lie down to rest ;
It is Thy litUe child

That cometh to be blest.

As is the following : —

Lord, Who hast made me Thy dear child,

And loved me tenderly. •
Oh, hear me when I come to own

My many faults to Thee I

How often I have thought that I

A better child would be,
More gentle, loving, kind, and trae,

And pleasing unto Thee.

And yet I have not conquered sin.

Nor striven as I should :
I have not always looked to Thee

When trying to be good.

Yet turn not from me, dearest Lord,

But all my faults forgive;
And grant that I may love Thee more

Each day on earth I live.

To Jeannette Threlfall we owe one of the finest of
our hymns for children, which has every characteristic
needful for such a composition : —


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Hoaanna ! loud hoeanoa !

The little children sang :
Through pillared court and temple

The lovelv anthem rans ;
To Jetus, who had blessed them,

Close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises,

The simplest and the best.

From Olivet they followed,

'Midst an exultant crowd,
Waving the victor palm branch,

And shouting clear and loud :
Blight angels joined the chorus,

Beyond the cloudless pky —
** Hosanna in the highest :

Glory to God on high ! "

Fair leaves of silvery olive

They strewed upon the ground,
Whilst Salem's circling mountains

Echoed the jojrful sound :
The Lord of men and angels

Bode on in lowly state,
Nor Boomed that little children

Should on his bidding wait.

** Hosanna in the highest ! "

That ancient song loe sing ;
For Christ is our Redeemer,

The Lord of heaven our King :
Oh I may we ever praise Him

With heart, and life, and voice,
And in His blissful presence

Eternally rejoice !

Sarah Doudney is better known by her stories than her
hymns, but the latter deserve, and will probably secure, a
larger place in collections for children than they have, as
yet, received, as may be judged from the following
(published in 1871) : —

For all Thy care we bless Thee,

O Father, God of might !
For golden hours of morning.

And quiet hours of night ;
Thine is the arm that shields us

When danger threatens nigh.
And Thine the hand that yields us

Rich gifts of earth and sky.


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For all Thy love we bless Thee ;

No mortal lips can speak
Thr comfort to the weary,

Thy pity for the weak :
By Thee life's path is briffbtened

With soDshioe and with song;
The heavy loads are lightened,

The feeble hearts made strong.

For all Thy tniih we bless Thee ;

Our human vows are frafl.
But through the strife of ages

Thy word can never &il ;
The kingdoms shall be broken,

The mighty ones will iaXL,
The promise Thou hast spoken

Shall triumph over all.

O teach us how to praise Thee,

Online LibraryWilliam Garrett HorderThe hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody → online text (page 31 of 37)