2012-10-12 / Other News

Stories Behind The Hymns

Again The Lord of Light and Life

By Warren Shiver By Warren Shiver Again The Lord of Light and Life

Author: Anna L. Barbauld


Composer: Thomas A. Arne


Anna L. Barbauld was born on June 20, 1743, in Kibworth Harcout in Leicestershire, England. Her father, Reverend John Aikin, was headmaster of the dissenting Kibworth Academy and was also the pastor of a local Presbyterian Church. Anna’s mother Jane Jennings Aikin was also a dissenter and a member of the local Presbyterian Church. It was not easy to become a dissenter from the Church of England without facing persecution from the church and citizens of the town. Anna was not enrolled in the local school since it was run by the Church of England. She received her primary and elementary education from her mother, who home schooled her.

Anna’s father enrolled her in the Kibworth Academy for her high school classes and taught her Latin, Greek, French and Italian languages. She also took other classes that were deemed unsuitable for woman at that time. She was very close to her father, and desired to get an education that would help her in all of life’s endeavors. Her mother was against her advanced studies because she felt a woman’s place was in the home raising children and caring for her husband, their relationship grew cold. Barbauld’s mother was worried about her penchant for study and was afraid she would wind up a spinster because of her intellectualism. No man would want to marry her.

Fortunately, Anna’s mother became proud of her accomplishments and in later years wrote of her daughter,” I once indeed knew a little girl who was as eager to learn as her instructors could be to teach her, and who at two years old could read sentences and little stories in her wise book, roundly, without spelling; and in half a year more could read as well as most women; but I never knew such another, and I believe never shall.”

In 1758 the family moved to the soon to be famous Warrington Academy, in Warrington, England, where Barbauld’s father had been offered a teaching position. This academy had a host of dignitaries involved in the school, both as teachers and students. One was Joseph Priestly a philosopher and the theologian Anna was soon to become very close friends with Priestly and his wife, and took a keen liking to his writings. The writings of Priestly were credited with Anna’s writing verses and poetry.

In 1773 Anna Barbauld published her first book simply entitled, “Poems.” It was an instant success and had four editions printed the first year. Anna became a respected literary figure in England on the reputations of her book “Poems” alone.

In May 1774, despite some misgivings, Anna married Reverend

Rochemont Barbauld, the grandson of a French Hugenot and a former student at Warrington. A friend of

Anna had warned her that

Rochemont had an insane attack earlier and warned her not to marry him he was dangerous. She was afraid to disappoint him and married him anyway. After the wedding Anna and her husband moved to Suffolk, England where he was offered a church pastorate and headmaster job in a boys school. There were only eight students in the school. In 1775, after a year of marriage Anna did not become pregnant and her husband felt like they could not have children. He ask Anna’s brother to let them adopt one of his children. He hesitated but conceded and let them have a son. It was this son that inspired Anna to write her most famous children’s books, Lessons for Children, (1778-1779) and Hymns in Prose for Children (1781).

The Barbauld’s stayed at Palgrave Academy until 1785, when Reverend Rosemont’s mental health had deteriorated to the point that he could not no longer carry out his duties at school. In 1787 they moved to Hampstead and accepted a pastorate at a Presbyterian Church. They stayed here until 1802, when they moved to Stoke Newington and Reverend Barbauld took over the pastorate of the Chapel at Newington Green. Unfortunately Reverend Baubauld’s mind was gone and he would have violent fits and beat Anna. He once chased her out of the kitchen with a knife and she escaped by diving through the kitchen window. This happened many times until 1808 when Barbauld drowned himself. After Anna overcame the grief, she began to write seriously about women’s rights, politics, children’s books and hymns. Anna died March 9, 1825 at age 82.

The music for this hymn was written by Thomas A. Arne. He was born March 12, 1710 in London, England. Arne was educated at Eton College. He met composer Michael Christian Festing, by chance, and this would become the big break that Thomas needed. Festing persuaded Arne’s father to allow him to pursue a career in music .

Arne became a great composer and wrote several opera’s. His sister Susannah Marie Arne, who sang contralto, and his brother Richard often, performed Arne’s works together.

Arne married singer Cecilia Young on March 15,1737. They worked together in opera productions. In 1750 Thomas and his wife moved to Covent Garden Theatre after she had problems getting along with the cast. In 1755 Thomas separated from his wife, alleged that she was mentally ill. He started dating one of the cast members but this did not work out, and he remained single.

In 1777 shortly before his death, Arne and his wife reconciled. Arne died on March 5, 1778 at age 68.

Stories Behind The Hymns is written by Warren Shiver of Biscoe, NC. Shiver has been fascinated with the true stories behind the hymns since he was a 12-year old attending East Gaffney Baptist Church in Gaffney, S.C. He began studying the stories behind the hymns in 1957. If you have questions or comments, he can be reached by email at wshiver99@embarqmail.com or by mail at PO BOX 775,Biscoe, NC 27209.

Warren has written two books, the first is a 300-page soft back, 104 Of My Favorite Hymn Stories Vol. 1 costs $14.95, the second book, 340- page soft back, 104 Of My Favorite Hymn Stories Vol. 2 costs $16.95. You may buy both books for $25.00. You may pick up your copies of both books at The Gaffney Ledger office on Floyd Baker Boulevard. Warren may be reached by email at wshiver99@embarqmail.com, or by mail at PO Box 775, Biscoe, NC.27209, you may also purchase the books on his website www.myfavoritehymnstories.com. Shipping for both books is $4.00, for one book $3.00. If you would like for Warren to come speak at your church, Sunday school class or any meeting you may contract him at 910-428-9911 or 910-428- 4078.

Again The Lord of Light and Life
Verse 1
Again The Lord of light and life
Awakes the kindling ray,
Unseals the eyelids of the morn,
And pours increasing day.
Verse 2
O what a night was that which
The heathen world in gloom!
O What a Sun which rose this day
Triumphant from the tomb!
Verse 3
This day be grateful homage paid,
And loud hosannas sung;
Let gladness dwell in every heart,
And praise on every tongue.
Verse 4
Ten thousand different lips shall join
To hail this welcome morn,
Which scatters blessings from its
wing sTo nations yet unborn.

Return to top

Print Edition

Click here for digital edition
2012-10-12 digital edition

Special Sections


Who do you support for Cherokee County Sheriff?