Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Voices Found: Anna Laetitia Waring

Welsh poet Anna Laetitia Waring was born on this day in 1823. Raised a Quaker, she converted to Anglicanism in 1842. Like most hymnwriters of her day, she was highly educated and learned Hebrew in order to read the daily psalter in that language. She published two popular collections of verse and many of the poems were later published in various hymnals. Her first book, Hymns and Meditations, was published in 1850, went through many editions, and is now available online through Google Books.

I wasn't expecting to do two of these in a row, but it was a surprise to find that Waring's most familiar hymn, In heavenly love abiding, is not included in The Hymnal 1982 (it was in the earlier Episcopal hymnals of 1940 and 1916, as well as hymnals of many other denominations).

Here's one that may owe more to Waring's Quaker background, and would probably not be considered sufficiently doctrinal to appear in many hymnals. It's short, but I like it.

Tender mercies, on my way
Falling softly like the dew,
Sent me freshly every day,
I give thanks to God for you.

Though I have not all I would,

Though to greater bliss I go,
Every present gift of good
To Eternal Love I owe.

Source of all that comforts me,
Well of joy for which I long,
Let the song I sing to thee
Be an everlasting song.

Anna Laetitia Waring, 1850; alt.
Tune: VIENNA (
Justin Heinrich Knecht, 1797

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