Poems on Prominent Evangelicals

1. The Character of the Rev. T. Scott. By a Personal Friend, on a Review of his Commentary.

Dear Pilgrim of past years, I hail thee still,

When from the world of sophists I retreat,

And watch thee here at thy great Master’s feet,

Gath’ring the sacred records of his will.

How gloriously didst thou thy course fulfil!

Leaving along the desert and the night,

Thy march to Zion in a path of light,*

Right onward to her everlasting hill.

When thou wert Jesus’ herald in the wild,

The Majesty of truth upon thee smiled, 10

With emanation strong, clear, undefiled.

Thine was no fitful blaze of meteor star;

Thine was the stedfast ray of grandeur mild: –

The broad, unsullied beam of glory from afar.

* Prov. iv. 18.

2. The Philanthropy of Wilberforce.

What is the charm of sweetest, holiest worth,

To him who loves with early dawn to muse

O’er Nature bright’ning into daylight hues;

Giving each form of grace and grandeur birth,

As if all things were new in heav’n and earth?

Oh! ’tis a charm we feel, but cannot name;

Something to hush the voice – and fix the eye,

Beyond the purple tint and golden flame;

Beyond the blushing of the gorgeous sky: –

A thought within the heart, that God is nigh. 10

So Wilberforce, thy zeal for man below,

Was more than earth-born love of human kind;

And souls that kindled in thy burning glow,

Felt ’twas the Saviour’s sun-light on the mind.

3. Sonnet to the Memory of Mrs. More.

Gem of the isle that bore thee! Not with tears

Thy country shall bedim thy lustre now,

But wear thee brightly on her empire’s brow, –

A jewel in her diadem of years.

And ne’er shall come the day with her, I ween,

When it shall be as if thou hadst not been.

For can it fail that life like thine should yield

A ray immortal from the distant goal?

The Lord, thy God, was here thy “Sun and Shield.”*

Thy genius was the handmaid of a soul, 10

That brighten’d in his beam of truth sublime.

Still radiant is thy path on either shore.

Behind thy footsteps shines the grace of time; –

The glory of eternity before!

* Psalm lxxxiv. 11.

4. To the Memory of Mrs. H. More.

Lady of Britain! thou art still her theme,

Though here thy pilgrim form is seen no more;

Thy Spirit, like some deep majestic stream,

Has beautified and blessed thy parent shore.

Onward it flowed, with current clear and strong

Nor did its ample bounty flow in vain;

Taste – learning – genius, as it rolled along

Drank of the wave, and thirsted yet again.

Yet thence came not the blessings that secure

Thy noblest record in thy Country’s heart; 10

But from the draught of Life’s own fountain pure

Which thou didst freely take, and then impart.

Of thee, dear Moralist, shall Zion tell,

That thou wert on the Lord her Saviour’s side;

And praise of lofty tone on thee shall dwell,

To this poor world’s vain glorious hope denied.

For thou hast shown the children of thy land,

That God doth on the mean and mighty look;

The duties that become the sceptred hand, (1)

And his, that holds the lowly Shepherd’s crook. (2) 20

And thou hast taught the practice pure, sublime,

Of piety’s high hope, and firm control, (3)

Tracked her bright footsteps through the paths of Time

And left her Christian Morals (4) on the Soul.

(1) Vide “Hints to a Princess”

(2) “Shepherd of Salisbury Plain”

(3) “Practical Piety”

(4) “Christian Morals” [These notes by Saffery.]

5. To the Memory of Dr Carey of Serampore.

Chieftain of Jesu’s host, thy closed eye

Slumbers at last upon the distant plain!

Yet may’st thou not be numbered with the slain: –

He is not dead whose triumph cannot die;

And thine, shall still survive the mortal sigh.

Like Judah’s Shepherd with his sling and stone,

Thy Faith went forth to meet a host unknown, –

The Giant-Gods of Indus to defy!

And at the shout of battle from afar,

Well didst thou bear the Christian Hero’s part; 10

Like Jesse’s Son,[iv] without the pomp of War,

And all his burning valour in thine heart.

O man of Mighty deed, and humble name,

Sublime and simple be thy holy fame!

6. To the Memory of Dr Carey.

“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark xvi. 15

This was thy herald charge, thy Lord’s command,

On thee it fell as on the faithful few:

On thee, – as if his words in Syria’s land

Had dropped around thee like her mountain dew.

On thee, – though ages through their course had sped,

Ere in the far off Isle, – the distant time,

To thy full heart the prompting spirit said,

“Go forth,” – and thou didst hear the call sublime.

Meek, holy man – magnanimous and mild –

Well hath thy foot the eastern desert trod; 10

There[9] sweetly sounding in the Pagan wild,

Thy pity cried, “Behold the Lamb of God”!

To save thy race from unredeemed harm,

There was an angel vigour in thy thought:

Yet thou couldst muse o’er nature’s meekest charm,

And learn the lowliest lesson that she taught.

Formed the sublime, or beautiful to scan,

Thy wisdom, in its gentleness and pow’r,

Could watch the solemn destinies of man,

Yet smile to mark the structure of a flower.[vi] 20

But there’s a ruling passion to control

Each feebler purpose of the human breast,

And thine, – compassion for the heathen Soul,

The lifelong labours of thy zeal exprest.

Yes, – where the guilty wave of Ganges rolled,

Stain’d with the murderous hues of victim blood,

That zeal, in Jesus’s name, of Mercy told,

And breathed his pardons o’er the idol flood.

Say what could India give to worth like thine?

Say rather, what thy worth to India gave: – 30

For not a gem within her blazing mine

Could grace the simple grandeur of thy grave.

There let her tribes on whom the light has shone,

Gaze on thy dust; and having mourned apart,

Turn from the humble record on the stone,*

To read the deep memorial of the heart.

*Dr Carey in his will desired the followg inscription to be placed on his tomb

William Carey born Aug: 17th 1761 died – [9 June 1834][vii]

“A wretched poor & helpless worm

On thy kind arms I fall.”


1. Saffery, Poems (1834), p. 197; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, p. 204. Thomas Scott (1747-1821), evangelical Anglican divine and author of the popular Family Bible and Commentary [1788-92], was known to MGS through her mother and their mutual friend, Mary Egerton, from the late 1780s (Egerton later became Scott’s second wife). After replacing John Newton as vicar at Olney, Scott served as chaplain of Lock Hospital in London from 1785-1803 and later as rector at Aston Sandford, Buckingshamshire.

2. Saffery, Poems (1834), p. 198; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, p. 204. Wilberforce (1759-1833) was the undisputed leader in the British Parliament among those who wished to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself throughout the British Empire. After many setbacks in the late 1780s and early 1790s, Wilberforce was able to procure passage of a bill prohibiting the slave trade in 1807 and the abolition of slavery in 1833, the latter being approved just a few days before his death on 29 July. An ardent evangelical, Wilberforce was also a close friend of John Newton and Thomas Scott; he gained considerable recognition as a religious figure for his popular work, A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians (London: T. Cadell, 1797).

3. Saffery, Poems (1834), p. 199; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, pp. 204-05. Hannah More (1745-1833) was a Bristol dramatist, poet, novelist, teacher, and, by the 1790s, a popular religious writer and Sunday School philanthropist in Bristol and later Cowslip Green, near Wrington, Somerset. For many years she and her sisters operated a boarding school for girls in Park Street, Bristol, at which time More became an acquaintance of Mary Steele and her family in Broughton. A poem by Hannah More, along with a letter by her and her sister, Martha More, all addressed to Mary Steele, can be found in Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3.

4. Copy-text from Baptist Magazine 25 (1833), p. 600; manuscript version in Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f.25r, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford; also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, pp. 209-10.

5. Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f.68v, Reeves Collection, Bodeian Library, Oxford; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, p. 210. Beneath the poem is the drawing of a woman with a staff bearing the initials ‘T. H. S’ across the top, standing in front of a tomb marked ‘W. C.’ with a kneeling Indian man looking up to her with hands folded in prayer. William Carey (1761-1834), a shoemaker by trade, became a Baptist in his teens. His first pastorate was a small congregation at Moulton. In 1789 he moved to Harvey Lane in Leicester, where Robert Hall would later pastor. For several years Carey had been developing a strong sense of the need for Baptist missions to foreign lands; he spoke on the subject at a Northamptonshire association meeting on 30 May 1792, and shortly afterward published his famous discourse, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (1792). He and several other ministers formed the Baptist Missionary Society in October 1792, and on 13 June 1793 Carey and his family, along with Dr. John Thomas, sailed for India, where Carey remained until his death in 1834. After spending some years doing missionary work while operating an indigo plantation near Mudnabatty and later at Kidderpore, conditions required that Carey move the mission to Serampore, Bengal, about fifteen miles from Calcutta and at that time under the control of the Danes. Late in 1799, Joshua Marshman and William Ward joined him, and together they formed the “Serampore Trio.” In India, Carey became a leading linguist and horticulturalist, translating the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Sanskrit, Hindi, Assamese, Marathi, and other languages, as well as numerous texts from those languages into English. In 1801 he was appointed professor of Bengalee and Sanscrit at the College of Fort William, and in 1818 founded Serampore College.

6. Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f.69r-v, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, pp. 210-11.