John Bowring

John Bowring
John Bowring
Short Name: John Bowring
Full Name: Bowring, John, 1792-1872
Birth Year: 1792
Death Year: 1872

James Bowring was born at Exeter, in 1792. He possessed at an early age a remarkable power of attaining languages, and acquired some reputation by his metrical translations of foreign poems. He became editor of "The Westminster Review" in 1825, and was elected to Parliament in 1835. In 1849, he was appointed Consul at Canton, and in 1854, was made Governor of Hong Kong, and received the honour of knighthood. He is the author of some important works on politics and travel, and is the recipient of several testimonials from foreign governments and societies. His poems and hymns have also added to his reputation. His "Matins and Vespers" have passed through many editions. In religion he is a Unitarian.
--Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872


Bowring, Sir John, LL.D., a distinguished man of letters, was born at Exeter, Oct. 17, 1792. His studies extended to philology, poetry, politics, and other branches of learning, whilst as editor of the Westminster Review for some years (he received the appointment in 1825) he did considerable work as a reviewer. He held several official appointments under the Government as Commissioner to France on commercial matters (1831-5); British Consul at Hong Kong (1849); and Governor of Hong Kong (1854). He was twice Member of Parliament, and was knighted in 1854. He died Nov. 23rd, 1872. His published works are very numerous, and display an astonishing acquaintance with various languages. Those specially bearing on poetry include:—

(1) Russian Anthology, with Biographical and Critical notices of the Poets of Russia, 1821; (2) Specimens of the Russian Poets, 1823; (3) Ancient Poetry and Romance of Spain, 1824; (4) Batavian Anthology, or Specimens of Dutch Poets, 1824; (5) Servian Popular Poetry, 1821; (6) Specimens of Polish Poets, 1827; (1) Poetry of the Magyars, 1830; (8) History of the Poetical Literature of Bohemia, 1832, &c.

In addition to these works, which are mainly translations, Sir John Bowring wrote original verse. This was published interspersed with a few translations, as follows:—

(1) Matins and Vespers with Hymns and Occasional Devotional Pieces, Lond., 1823; 2nd edition, enlarged, 1824; 3rd edition, again enlarged, 1841; and the 4th, still further enlarged, in 1851. (2) Hymns: as a Sequel to the Matins, 1825. In addition he contributed to a few Unitarian hymnals, especially that of the Rev. J. R. Beard of Manchester, 1837. In that Collection many of the hymns added to the 3rd edition of Matins, &c, 1841, were first published A selection from these, together with a biographical sketch, was published by Lady Bowring in 1873, as a Memorial Volume of Sacred Poetry. This work contains hymns from the Matins and Vespers, together with others from Periodicals, and from his manuscripts.

Of his hymns a very large percentage have come into common use. A few have been adopted by almost all denominations, as, "God is love, His mercy brightens;" "How sweetly flow'd the gospel sound;" "In the Cross of Christ I glory;" "Watchman, tell us of the night;"; and others, but the greater portion are confined to the Unitarian collections of Great Britain and America, of which denomination he was a member. In addition to the more important, which are annotated under their first lines, there are also the following in common use:—-
1. Clay to clay, and dust to dust. Burial. From his Hymns, 1825, into the Hymn & Tune Book, Boston, U.S., 1868, &c.
2. Come the rich, and come the poor. Divine Worship. Contributed to Beard's Collection, 1837, No. 290, and repeated in Bowring's Matins, &c., 3rd edition, 1841. It is in a few American collections.
3. Drop the limpid waters now. Holy Baptism. From Matins and Vespers, 3rd edition, 1841, into Kennedy, 1863.
4. Earth's transitory things decay. The Memory of the Just. From his Hymns, 1825, into Beard, 1837; the American Plymouth Collection, 1855; and the Songs for the Sanctuary, N.Y., 1865, &c.
5. Father, glorify Thy name. The Father glorified. Also from Hymns, 1825, into Beard, 1837; the Hymns of the Spirit, Boston, U.S., 1864, &c.
6. Father and Friend, Thy light, Thy love. Omnipresence. From Matins and Vespers, 2nd edition, 1824, into several collections, and sometimes in an abbreviated form.
7. Father of Spirits, humbly bent before Thee. Also in Hymns, 1825, and Dr. Martineau's Hymns of Praise & Prayer, 1873. In Longfellow and Johnson's Hymns of the Spirit, Boston, U.S., 1864, it is given as, "Father of Spirits, gathered now before Thee."
8. From all evil, all temptation. Preservation implored. Contributed to Beard's Collection, 1837.
9. From the recesses of a lowly spirit. Prayer of trust. From Matins and Vespers, 1st edition, 1823, into several American collections.
10. Gather up, 0 earth, thy dead. Published in his Matins & Vespers, 3rd ed., 1841, in 3 stanzas of 8 lines and repeated, slightly altered, in Kennedy, 1863, No. 753.
11. Gently the shades of night descends Evening. A cento from his poem on "Sunday Evening," in the Matins, &c, 1st edition, 1823, p. 6. It is given in the Boston Hymns of the Spirit, 1864; the Boston Hymn & Tune Book, 1868, and other collections.
12. How dark, how desolate. Hope. 1st published in his Matins, &c, 1823, p. 246. In Dr. Martineau's Hymns of Praise & Prayer, 1873, it is No. 515.
13. How shall we praise Thee, Lord of Light! Evening. A cento from the same poem as No. 7 above. It is given in the Hymns of the Spirit, 1864, and other American collections.
14. Lead us with Thy gentle sway. Divine Guidance desired. Hymns, 1825, into Hymns of the Spirit, 1864, and others.
15. Lord, in heaven, Thy dwelling-place. Praise. Contributed to Beard's Collection, 1837, No. 70, repeated in the author's Matins, &c, 3rd edition 1841, p. 235, and given in a few American collections. In the Hymns of the Spirit, 1864, it is altered to "Lord of every time and place."
16. 0 let my [thy] trembling soul be still. Resignation. From the 1st edition of the Matins, &c, 1823, p. 251, in 3 stanzas of 6 lines, into Beard's Collection, 1837; the Hymns of the Spirit, 1864, and others. It is sometimes given as, "0 let thy," &c.
17. 0, sweet it is to feel and know. Monday Morning. A poem in 16 stanzas of 4 lines, given in his Matins, &c, 1823, p. 60. In 1837 stanzas i.-iii. were given in Beard's Collection as No. 448, and entitled "God near in sorrow." In the 3rd edition of the Matins, &c, 1841, this cento was repeated (p. 245), with the same title, notwithstanding the full poem was in the same book.
18. On the dust I'm doomed to sleep. Resurrection. Appeared in his Matins, &c, 1st edition, 1823, p. 252, in 2 stanzas of 8 lines. In the 2nd edition, 1824, p. 232, it was altered to "In the dust," &c. This was repeated in 1841. In some hymnals it reads:—
19. The heavenly spheres to Thee, 0 God. Evening. This "Hymn to the Deity" appeared in the 2nd edition of his Matins, &c, 1824, pp. 235-6, in 4 stanzas of 4 double lines. It is also in the 3rd edition, 1841; the Boston Hymns of the Spirit, 1864 and other American collections.
20. When before Thy throne we kneel. Divine Worship. From his Hymns, 1825, into Beard's Collection, 1837, No. 93; the Boston Hymn & Tune Book, 1868, No. 21, and others.
21. Where is thy sting, 0 death! Death. Also from the Hymns, 1825, into the same collections as No. 20 above.
It will be noted that Beard's Collection, 1837, is frequently named above. The full title of that hymnal is—
A Collection of Hymns for Public and Private Worship. Compiled by John R. Board, Lond., John Green, 1837.
The Rev. John Relly Beard was an Unitarian Minister in Manchester, and the collection is dedicated "To the Manchester Meeting of Ministers." It contained a large number of original hymns. Bowring contributed 82, of which 33 were published therein for the first time. Some of his hymns are of great merit, and most of them are characterised by great earnestness and deep devotion.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Bowring, Sir John, p. 166, i. In the article on Bowring the hymns numbered therein as 4 and 20 are stated to have appeared in his Hymns, 1825, but in error. The earliest date to which we can positively trace them is Beard's Collection, 1837. From the Hymns, 1825, we find, however, that the following are in modern hymnals:—
1. Our God is nigh. Divine Presence.
2. 'Tis not the gift; but 'tis the spirit. Outward and Inward Virtue.
3. When the storms of sorrow gather. God our Guide.
From the various editions of his Matins and Vespers additional hymns arc also in modern use:—
4. If all our hopes and all our fears. Heaven Anticipated. (1823.)
5. In Thy courts let peace be found. Public Worship. (1841.)
6. The offerings to Thy throne which rise. Heart Worship. (1824.)
7. Who shall roll away the stone? Easter. In Beard's Collection, 1837, and Matins & Vespers, 1841.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)

Wikipedia Biography

Sir John Bowring KCB FRS FRGS, or Phraya Siamanukulkij Siammitrmahayot (17 October 1792 – 23 November 1872) was a British political economist, traveller, writer, literary translator, polyglot and the fourth Governor of Hong Kong. He was appointed by Queen Victoria as emissary to Siam, later he was appointed by King Mongkut of Siam as ambassador to London, also making a treaty of amity with Siam on April 18, 1855, now referred to as the "Bowring Treaty". His namesake treaty was fully effective for 70 years, until the reign of Vajiravudh. This treaty was gradually edited and became completely ineffective in 1938 under the government of Plaek Phibunsongkhram. Later, he was sent as a commissioner of Britain to the newly created Kingdom of Italy in 1861. He died in in Devon on November 23, 187

Texts by John Bowring (107)sort descendingAsAuthority LanguagesInstances
Almighty one, I bend in dust before TheeJohn Bowring (Author)English4
Ar ddiwedd llafur blwyddyn gron (Another year of labor gone, And now, O Lord, we meet)J. B. (Author)English, Welsh2
As midst the ever rolling seaJohn Bowring (Author)1
As, when the deluge waves were goneJohn Bowring (Author)3
Blessed, blessed are the deadBowring (Author)6
Carry me, Babe, to Bethlehem nowSir John Bowring (Author)English2
Christi Kreuz, das ich mich rühmeJohn Bowring (Author)German2
Christi Kreuz, das will ich lobenJohn Bowring (Author)German1
Clay to clay, and dust to dustJohn Bowring (Author)13
Come, let us leave the vain, the proudJohn Bowring (Author)2
Come the rich, and come the poorJohn Bowring (Author)6
Cruz Cristo ti pagragsacacJohn Bowring (Author)Tagalog2
De la noche, guarda, ¿qué hay?John Bowring, 1792-1872 (Author)Spanish2
Deus é amor. A sua graçaJohn Bowring (Author)Portuguese2
Dinos, ¿qué noticias dasJohn Bowring (Author)Spanish2
Drop the limpid waters nowJohn Bowring (Author)5
Drop ye dew, O gracious heavenJohn Bowring (Author)2
E na kiai, e ha'i maiJohn Bowring, 1792-1872 (Author)Hawaiian3
Earth's transitory things decayJohn Bowring (Author)English24
En la excelsa cruz de CristoJohn Bowring (Author)Spanish6
Father and Friend,John Bowring (Author)2
Father and Friend, Thy light, Thy loveJohn Bowring (Author)English59
Father, glorify Thy name! Whatso'er our portion beBowring (Author)4
Father of spirits! gathered now before TheeJohn Bowring (Author)8
Father of spirits, nature's GodJohn Bowring (Author)English3
Father! Thy paternal careJohn Bowring (Author)English63
From all evil, all temptationJohn Bowring (Author)English3
From the recesses of a lowly spiritJohn Bowring (Author)English59
Gather up, O earth, thy deadJohn Bowring (Author)English2
Gently the shades of night descendJohn Bowring (Author)English4
¡Gloria a Dios! porque su graciaJohn Bowring (1792-1872) (Author)Spanish1
God is Love: His mercy brightensJohn Bowring (Author)English628
Guarda, ¿Qué noticia das?John Bowring (Author)Spanish2
He was there alone, when even Had round the earth its mantle thrownJohn Bowring (Author)English4
He who walks in virtue's wayJohn Bowring (Author)11
How dark, how desolateJohn Bowring (Author)4
How shall we praise thee, Lord of lightBowring (Author)24
How sweetly flowed the gospel's soundBowring (Author)English284
Hüter, ist die Nacht schier hin?John Bowring (Author)German3
I cannot always trace the way, Where Thou, Almighty One, dost moveJohn Bowring (Author)English19
I hate that noisy drum, It is a soundJohn Bowring (Author)2
Jesus, still lead onJ. B. (Translator (into English))English1
If all our hopes and all our fearsJohn Bowring (Author)English13
If listening, as I listen stillBowring (Author)6
In the Apocalypse sublimeSir John Bowring (Author)English2
In the cross of Christ I glory, Towering over the wrecks of timeBowring (Author)English1358
In the dust I'm doomed to sleepJohn Bowring (Author)3
In thy courts let peace be found Bowring (Author)9
Jerusalem, divine abode, the cityJohn Bowring (Author)2
Jesu Kreuz ist all' mein RühmenJohn Bowring (Author)German5
கிறிஸ்துவின் நல் சிலுவை மேன்மை (Kiṟistuviṉ nal ciluvai mēṉmai)John Bowring (Author)Tamil2
Kristi Kors, min Ros og VindingJohn Bowring (Author)2
Kristi kors, mitt allt, min 'raJohn Bowring (Author)2
كيف هذا الليل هل كان صبح يا رقيبJohn Bowring (Author)Arabic1
Lead us with thy gentle swayJohn Bowring (Author)English9
Let those who doubt the heavenly sourceJohn Bowring (Author)English2
Look around thee see decayBowring (Author)3
Lord, in heaven, Thy dwelling placeBowring (Author)English23
Lord, in the unbeginning yearsBowring (Author)5
Lord of every time and placeJohn Bowring (Author)1
Love, scatter round they glories wideJohn Bowring (Author)2
Ma ke ke'a o Iesu KristoJohn Bowring, 1792-1872 (Author)Hawaiian3
Mysterious are the ways of GodBowring (Author)5
Nature, a temple worthy heavenBowring (Author)5
Not with terror do we meetBowring (Author)English12
O come, a thousand voices call, Spirits of life and love!Bowring (Author)1
O how cheating, O how fleeting Are our days departing!John Bowring (Author)English2
O let my trembling soul be stillJohn Bowring (Author)English38
O sweet it is to know, to feelBowring (Author)1
O Thou eternal One, whose presence brightBowring (Translator)English1
O what a struggle wakes withinJohn Bowring (Author)5
On light-beams breaking from aboveBowring (Author)4
On mightier wing, in loftier flightJohn Bowring (Author)English3
Our times are in Thy hand, and Thou Wilt guide our footsteps at Thy willBowring (Author)English4
Pilgrim, burdened with thy sin, Come the way to Zion's gateBowring (Author)English2
Reviving sleep, thy sheltering wingBowring (Author)6
Rühmen will ich mich alleineSir John Bowring (Author)German6
Spring is but another birthSir John Bowring (Author)English2
Stillness reigns—the vapors stealJohn Bowring (Author)English2
The golden palace of my GodJohn Bowring (Author)3
The heart has tendrils like the vineJohn Bowring (Author)2
The heavenly spheres to thee, O GodBowring (Author)35
The heavens, O God, thy power proclaimJohn Bowring (Author)6
The offerings to thy throne which riseJohn Bowring (Author)English45
The offerings which to thee ariseJohn Bowring (Author)4
The Savior now is gone beforeBowring (Author)10
The week is past its latest rayBowring (Author)2
There is in every human heartSir J. Bowring (Author)English3
Thy will be done, In devious wayJohn Bowring (Author)English90
'Tis not the gift, but 'tis the spiritJohn Bowring (Author)8
'Tis sweet when cloudless suns ariseJohn Bowring (Author)3
To thee, my God, to thee I bringJohn Bowring (Author)3
True power and pride and insolent thoughtJohn Bowring (Author)2
Upon the gospel's sacred pageJohn Bowring (Author)English96
Watchman! tell us of the nightJohn Bowring (Author)English690
We cannot always trace the wayJohn Bowring (Author)English13
Were all our hopes and all our fearsBowring (Author)8
When before Thy throne we kneelJohn Bowring (Author)English32
When I survey the wondrous cross (Watts)J. Bowring (Author (Chorus))English1
When the woes of life overtake me, Hopes deceive and fears annoyJohn Bowring (Author)1
When wakened by thy voice of powerBowring (Author)12
Where is thy sting, O deathBowring (Author)4
Who shall roll away the stoneJohn Bowring (Author)English1
Why, thou never setting lightJohn Bowring (Author)3
Woteḣi awakipa caŋJohn Bowring (Author)Dakota1
Woyasu aŋpetu kiŋJohn Bowring (Author)Dakota1
主十字架是我誇耀 (Zhǔ shízìjià shì wǒ kuāyào)John Bowring (Author)Chinese2

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