- 18th and 19th Century Hymnbooks
Isaac Watts. Divine songs attempted in easy language for the use of children. Facsimile edition. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.
marks the tercentenary of the publication of Isaac Watts’ Divine songs attempted in easy language for the use of children.
First published in 1715, it was one of the most reprinted English children’s
books of the eighteenth century. Such hymns as “How doth the little busy bee/
improve each shining hour” were still popular 150 years later when parodied by
Lewis Carroll in Alice’s adventures in
Wonderland in 1865. Divine songs
was an early and very successful attempt to write verses for children’s
pleasure but at the same time point and urge them to the paths of virtue.
Cecil Francis Alexander (words) Henry J. Gauntlett (music). Hymns for little children. London: W. Walker, [1877?]
First published in 1848, Hymns for little children by Irish Anglican hymn writer Cecil
Frances Alexander was a huge success, being widely reprinted throughout the
nineteenth century. Alexander composed more than 400 hymns and poems, chiefly
for children, characterised by lyrical simplicity and theological clarity.
Her most famous and enduring hymns include ‘All things
bright and beautiful’ and the Christmas carol ‘Once in royal David’s city’, an
attempt to explain the birth and incarnation of Christ to children. Both are
set to music in Hymns for little children
by English organist Henry John Gauntlett.
John Burnham (editor). Children's hosannas: a very choice and original collection of anniversary music. London: W. Nicholson, [1889?]
Reformed Baptist evangelist John Burnham of Brentford was a protégée of the
‘Prince of Preachers’ Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He was also a prolific late
Victorian editor and compiler of hymnody works for both children and adults. Children’s hosannas was amongst his most
popular and reprinted works.