Archive for the ‘poet British’ Category


Joseph Addison (3/8/1711) published, “To be an atheist requires an infinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.”

Addison was born 5/1/1672, son Lancelot Addison, rector of Milston, Wiltshire, England. His education included Charterhouse (boarding school) & Oxford, where he received his BA & MA. He rounded out his education spending 1.5 yrs in France, 1 in Italy & over a yr in Switzerland, Austria, Germany & Holland. 

He did not marry (Countess of Warwick) until 1716. Addison was a poet, an essayist & for some time worked with the “The Spectator” (source of the above quote). The popularity of his poem “The Campaign” appears to have led to his being appointed Under Secretary of State – poetry HAS changed. 🙂

Christians today identifying with him as the author the following hymn:

The spacious firmament on high, With all the blue ethereal sky,

And spangled heavens, a shining frame Their great Original proclaim.

Th’unwearied sun, from day to day, Does his creator’s powers display,

And publishes to every land The work of an almighty hand.

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Sarah Fuller Flower was born 2/22/1805, at Harlow, Essex, England, the younger daughter of Mr & Mrs Benjamin Flower, editor/owner of The Cambridge Intelligencer.  In 1834 she married William Brydges Adams, a well-known inventor & civil engineer.  She is said to have met William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, & Leigh Hunt & to have corresponded with Robert Browning who reportedly admired her.


She contributed 13 hymns to a book published in 1841 among which is her famous “Nearer, my God, to Thee.”   There is a tradition/story that as the ill-famed Titanic sank, the ship’s band played “Nearer, my God, to Thee.”  If so, it perhaps helped more than one to repent.  If not true one could wish that it were. 😦   She died 8/14/1848 in London.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,

Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.


Nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer to Thee!



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Elizabeth Cecelia Douglas Clephane died, 2/19/1869, near Melrose, Scotland, the 3rd daughter of Andrew Clephane, Sheriff of Fife & Kinross. She lived most of life at her birth site 30 miles southeast of Edinburgh. Wrote “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” & “There Were Ninety & Nine.” Clephane was born 6/18/1830.

Sankey spotted “…Ninety & Nine” in a Brit newspaper while with Moody in Scotland, tore out the poem, put it in his pocket & forgot it.  That same day as Moody closed a service (Edinburgh) he asked Sankey to sing. Ira was caught by surprise but the Holy Ghost reminded him of what was in his pocket.  He brought it out & with a prayer, proceeded to composed a tune AS he sang – his first attempt at writing hymn tunes.

“There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of the fold. But one was out on the hills away,

Far off from the gates of gold. Away on the mountains wild and bare.

Away from the tender Shepherd’s care. Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.”

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William Williams was born 2/11/1717, at Pantycelyn, Wales.  Called the “Sweet Singer of Wales” & the “Watts of Wales” Williams originally studied medicine but was ordained a deacon of the Church of England in 1740.  He refused to become a priest & in time attached himself to the Calvinistic Methodists.  He had an interesting schedule: for 35 years he ministered every month at Llaullian, Caio, & Llansawel.  History records him an esteemed preacher. Williams composed his hymns chiefly in Welsh.  He died 1/11/1791. 

He’s remembered today for “Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah” a hymn that was sung at the wedding of Britain’s Prince William & Catherine Middleton (Westminster Abbey, April 29, 2011).


“Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land.

I am weak, but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy powerful hand.

Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more; Feed me till I want no more.”

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King James on 2/10/1604 authorized an English Bible translation.  By 1607 the teams were ready & by 1611 the Authorized Bible was complete. More people are in heaven because of this Bible than ANY other!

A little about the man – he was born 6/19/1566, became King James VI of Scotland, 7/24/1567 and King James I of England, 7/25/1603. He married Anne of Denmark (11/24/1589); they had 3 sons & 5 daughters & unlike many kings/presidents (L) is not known to have had any other sexual partner. 

James was a most intellectual king, being influent in Greek, Latin & French. He wrote more books than any other reigning monarch. Partial list includes: a private Translation of Psalms, Commentary on Revelation, Devotional series on the Lord’s Prayer, Demonology (identifying witch powers with demon possession), The Essays of a Prentice in the Divine Art of Poesy, His Majesties Poetical Exercises at Vacant Hours, Basilikon Doron, & “A Counterblast to Tobacco”(1604) an essay attacking smoking. His books exposing demons & smoking help explain the enmity (in addition to the KJV) which has been stirred against him.

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Robert Grant, Sir, was born 1/15/1779 (‘80?) in India, son of an East India Company director.  His family returned to England and he was Cambridge educated.  He entered law practice and soon became a Member of Parliament.  Through his persistent efforts a bill was eventually passed emancipating England’s Jews; he fought for other minority groups as well.  Robert was also a avid supporter of world missions and he influenced evangelicals in the Church of England.  He died 7/9/1838.

Robert married Margaret Davidson (yr. unknown) – they were blessed with two sons and two daughters.  He accepted a high position in the East India company.  Then in 1834 Grant became governor of Bombay and the same year was knighted.  He wrote a dozen hymns; here is stanza one of his best known.

“O Worship the King all glorious above! O gratefully sing his power and his love,

Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.”

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John Fawcett was born 1/6/1740, near Bradford, Yorkshire, England and Born Again under the ministry of George Whitfield.  Along with pastoring and founding Rawdon College Fawcett penned essays and over 150 hymns.  Most, if not all, of his hymns were written to be sung at the end of the services as these two show “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” and “Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing.”  He died 7/25/1817.

“Blest be the tie that binds   Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds   Is like to that above.

“Before our Father’s throne   We pour our ardent prayers;

Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one   Our comforts and our cares.

“We share each other’s woes,   Our mutual burdens bear;

And often for each other flows   The sympathizing tear…”

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