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Archive for the ‘poet British’ Category

ON THIS DATE

Charles Wesley was married 4/8/1749, in a small parish church at Llanlleonfel, near Garth, Wales.  His bride was Sarah Gwynne, daughter of Marmaduke & Sarah (Evans) Gwynne. The minister for the ceremony was his brother, John, who had encouraged the wedding.  Sarah (also called Sally – perhaps to distinguish her from her mother) was born in Garth, Powyes, Wales in 1726 (month, day unknown).  She was musically inclined, in fact, performed before King George III.

While a young lady her father, a local magistrate, went on occasion to arrest Howell Harris, a Wesleyan minister.  As Marmaduke listened he liked what he heard, was converted to that view, & brought Harris home.  That was the beginning; years later he entertained two brothers & one of then returned in 1748 to propose.  Her mother had not welcomed Harris to her home but warmed to Charles, her new s-n-law.

Although Charles may not have witnessed a happy marriage as a boy he & Sarah had a good union.  They settled (same year as wed) at 4 Charles St., Bristol & remained there till 1771 (house is preserved as the “Charles Wesley House”).  God blessed them with eight children (only three lived to be adults – too common a happening back then).  She died 12/28/1818 (Charles died in 1788) & was buried beside Charles. 

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William Wordsworth was born 4/7/1770 at Cockermouth, Cumbria, England, the 2nd of 5 children of John & Anne (Cookson) Wordsworth. William’smum” died in 1778: he was sent to Hawkshead Grammar School where he penned his first poems. While at Hawkshead his dad also died.  By 1787 he was at St John’s College, Cambridge.  During one summer vacation (1788) he trekked through Cumberland county & later Wales. Before graduation he did the “European Gentleman thing” – a walking tour of France, Switzerland & Germany.  While there he came to an understanding/sympathy with the French Revolution.

After returning to England he & his younger sister, Dorothy, were re-united.  Also he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge; they published Lyrical Ballads, containing his “Tintern Abbey” & Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”  By 1802 he felt he could financially afford to marry & did. He bride was Mary Hutchinson, friend from his childhood.  They were blessed with 5 children but sadly 2 of them died, Catherine & John. Following the death of Robert Southey (1843) Wordsworth became Poet Laureate.  He died 4/23/1850; his wife Mary published The Prelude, considered his most famous work 3 months later.

Wordsworth Quotes:

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”

“Come grow old with me. The best is yet to be.”

“The World Is Too Much With Us…”

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George Herbert was born 4/3/1593, fifth son (10 children total) of Richard & Magdalen (Newport) Herbert at Black Hall in Montgomery, Wales.  Richard (who died when George was very young) was from an old & powerful Montgomeryshire family who’d lived there since the 13th century.  Herbert went to Westminster School at 10 (12?) & earned this BA at 20 & MA at 23 both from Trinity College, Cambridge Univ.

He was appointed to some positions at Cambridge. In 1624,1625 he was elected to Parliament & knew King James I.  He married Jane Danvers (1629) & though no children are listed they provided a home for three orphaned nieces. The following year he took orders in the Church of England & he spent the rest of his short life as rector in Bemerton near Salisbury (about 75 miles west of London) where he helped rebuild the church with his own funds.  He died of tuberculosis 3/1/1633.  See Izaak Walton’s Memoir of Herbert.

His classic (worth reading) The Temple, was published that same year.  By 1680 it had 20 re-printings.  From the literary side Samuel T Coleridge wrote about his diction, “Nothing can be more pure, manly or unaffected.”  From the religious side Richard Baxter said, “Herbert speaks to God like one that really believeth a God, and whose business in the world is most with God.”  Herbert is thought to have influenced poet Henry Vaughan & he in turn influenced William Wordsworth.

Herbert quotes:

“His bark is worse than his bite.”

“He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.”

“Be calm in arguing: for fierceness makes Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.”

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John Milton published his classic Paradise Lost 3/27/1667.  Milton, born in 1608 (12/9), was at a good mental age to produce this excellent contribution except for the fact that by now he was blind (a daughter wrote what he dictated to her from his memory).  Paradise Lost is not only a most worthy piece of English writing, it has become an enduring poem in the field of literature at large.

It is impossible to imagine a greater backdrop than he chose: Heaven, Earth, & Hell. His imagination is vast, his vocabulary stretches the modern mind.  Bible believers can “see” his word pictures yet must guard against making them too authoritarian – after all, Milton’s inspiration is only the earthly kind allowed to poets & great prose writers – he was not inspirited in the same sense as writers of Holy Writ.

Milton himself was an interesting person.  After preparing to enter the clergy (at Cambridge) he changed careers to become a poet.  He gave himself to extensive classical & modern readings (religion, science, philosophy, history, politics, & literature). He became proficient in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish,  Italian, & was familiar Old English & Dutch.  His education was “rounded out” by a 13-month tour of France & Italy in which he met several intellectuals among whom was Galileo,

Opening lines of Paradise Lost

Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,

Sing heavenly muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,

In the beginning how the heavens and earth

Rose out of chaos: Or if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed

Fast by the oracle of God; I thence

Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song…

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Godfrey Thring was born 3/25/1823 at Alford, Somerset, England.  He was the son of the rector, John Gale Dalton Thring & Sarah née Jenkyns.  He was brother to Theodore Thring, Henry, Lord Thring associated with Parliament, Edward Thring, headmaster of Uppingham School, John Charles Thring master at Uppingham School & two sisters.

Godfrey was educated at Shrewsbury School &  Balliol College, Oxford (B A 1845).  He was ordained in the Church of England & served it until his death.  He died 9/13/1903 at Surrey, England. He wrote:

“Crown Him with many crowns,   The Lamb upon His throne.

Hark! How the heav’nly anthem drowns   All music but its own.

Awake, my soul, and sing   Of Him who died for thee,

And hail Him as thy matchless king   Through all eternity.”

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ON THIS DATE

John Bakewell died 3/18/1819 at Lewisham, Kent, England.  He was born in 1721, Brailsford, Derbyshire, England (parents unknown).   About 1739 he read the work of Thomas Boston (1676-1732) entitled Fourfold State (Innocence, Nature, Grace, Eternal).  This book was instrumental in Bakewell’s conversion to Christ & he became an fervent evangelist.

Neither the date of his wedding nor his wife’s name were found but he did marry & have a daughter because a son-n-law, Dr. James Egan, is known to have taken his place as director of Greenwich Royal Park Academy.  Bakewell’s circle of friends & acquaintances included Charles & John Wesley, Augustus Toplady, John Fletcher, Madan, & others.  In addition to a few hymns, he wrote at least one article (carried in the Wesleyan Magazine, July 1816) on “Brotherly Love.”  Bakewell penned:

Hail, Thou once despisèd Jesus! Hail,    Thou Galilean King!

Thou didst suffer to release us;    Thou didst free salvation bring.

Hail, Thou universal Savior,    who hast borne our sin and shame!

By Thy merits we find favor;    life is given through Thy name.

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Ada Ann Fitzgerald Whiddington died, 3/14/1933, at Hendon, England.  She was born in 1855 in England (both exact date & exact location unknown) to Mr & Mrs Robert Fitzgerald.  She married Mark Whiddington & they were blessed with a son, Richard, who reportedly became Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University.  Ada is thought to have been associated with the Keswick Convention.

This lady is one of many souls who felt inspired to write the desires of their honest souls. One could wish to know more about her, her background, her times but those are left in history’s shadow. What we do have are these words set to music by the famous Canadian turned American A B Simpson (born, PEI, 1843).   

Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted; Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard;

Not I, but Christ, in every look and action, Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.

Refrain

O to be saved from myself, dear Lord, O to be lost in Thee,

O that it might be no more I, But Christ, that lives in me.

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