Anna Laetitia Waring

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Anna Letitia Waring (or Anna Laetitia Waring) (19 April 1823 – 10 May 1910) was a Welsh poet and hymn-writer.[1][2]

Life[edit]

She was born at Plas-y-Felin, Neath, third of the seven children of Elijah Waring (1787-1857) and his wife, Deborah.[1] Her family were Quakers, but she became an Anglican and was baptised into the Church of England in 1842, at St Martin Church, Winnall, Winchester.[1] Several members of her family had literary interests. Her uncle, Samuel Miller Waring, published a hymn collection, Sacred melodies (1826). Elijah Waring wrote verse, plus a literary memoir, Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams, the Bard of Glamorgan (1850). Following in her family's footsteps, it seems natural that 'verse-writing was always a pleasant diversion to her.'[3] She learned Hebrew in order to study the Old Testament in the original.[1]

In 1850, Anna published her first work, Hymns and Meditations. This was to be reprinted and extended many times. Additional Hymns (1858) was integrated into later editions of Hymns and meditations. Mary S. Talbot's memoir In Remembrance of Anna Letitia Waring was added to the 1911 final edition of Hymns and Meditations. This posthumous publication collected previously unpublished material, secular as well as religious. Domestic topics are in evidence, including a light-hearted piece on her cat. Scott describes the final collection as projecting a compassionate, reflective personality, with a sense of humour.[1] Anna's best-known hymns include "Father, I know that all my life", "Go not far from me, O my Strength", "In heavenly love abiding" and "My heart is resting, O my God".[4]

Scott describes Anna as typifying a conventional Victorian view of womanhood, pious, reserved, and given to "good works".[1] Anna became involved in philanthropic work, particularly as a supporter of the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society. According to her friend Mary S. Talbot, Waring "visited in the prisons of Bridewell, and at Horfield, Bristol, for many years. To one who spoke to her of the painfulness of such work she answered, 'It is like watching by a filthy gutter to pick out a jewel here and there, as the foul stream flows by.'"[3]

Waring died unmarried at her home in Clifton, Bristol on 10 May 1910.[1][2] Her most often reprinted hymn "Father, I know that all my life" was sung at her funeral.[1] Her burial service, at Arnos Vale Cemetery, was led by Canon Talbot, the husband of one of her nieces.[1]

Works[edit]

  • Hymns and Meditations (1850)
  • Additional Hymns (1858)
  • Days of Remembrance: A Memorial Calendar (1886)[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Scott, Rosemary (2004). "Waring, Anna Letitia (1823–1910)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Ian Lancashire (ed.). "Selected Poetry of Anna Letitia Waring (1823-1910)". Representative Poetry Online. 
  3. ^ a b Richard Arnold, English Hymns of the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology. (New York: Peter Lang, 2004), 127.
  4. ^ Eclectic Ethereal Encyclopaedia
  5. ^ Joanne Shattock, The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature: 1800-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 689-690.

References[edit]