Frances Ridley Havergal

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Frances Ridley Havergal
Frances Ridley Havergal - Project Gutenberg eText 18444.jpg
Born Frances Ridley Havergal
14 December 1836
Astley, Worcestershire, England
Died June 3, 1879(1879-06-03) (aged 42)
near Caswell Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wales
Resting place churchyard, St Peter's parish church, Astley
Occupation religious poet, hymnwriter
Language English
Nationality British
Alma mater Mrs. Teed's school

Frances Ridley Havergal (14 December 1836 – 3 June 1879) was an English religious poet and hymnwriter. Take My Life and Let it Be and Thy Life for Me (also known as I Gave My Life for Thee) are two of her best known hymns. She also wrote hymn melodies, religious tracts, and works for children. She did not occupy, and did not claim for herself, a prominent place as a poet, but by her distinct individuality, she carved out a niche which she alone could fill.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Frances Ridley Havergal was born into an Anglican family, at Astley in Worcestershire, 14 December 1836. Her father, William Henry Havergal (1793–1870), was a clergyman, writer, composer, and hymnwriter. Her brother, Henry East Havergal, was a priest in the Church of England and an organist.

When she was five, her father removed to the Rectory of St. Nicholas, Worcester. In August, 1850, she entered Mrs. Teed's school, whose influence over her was most beneficial. In the following year she says, “I committed my soul to the Saviour, and earth and heaven seemed brighter from that moment.” A short sojourn in Germany followed.[1] In 1852/3, she studied in the Louisenschule, Düsseldorf, and at Oberkassel. Havergal's scholastic acquirements were extensive, embracing several modern languages, together with Greek and Hebrew.[1]

On her return to England, she was confirmed in Worcester Cathedral, 17 July 1853.[1]

Career[edit]

In 1860, she left Worcester upon her father resigning the Rectory of St. Nicholas, and resided at different periods in Leamington, and at Caswell Bay, Swansea, broken by visits to Switzerland, Scotland, and North Wales.[1] She led a quiet life, not enjoying consistent good health. She supported the Church Missionary Society.

Havergal's hymns were frequently printed by J. & R. Parlane as leaflets, and in Caswall & Co. as ornamental cards. They were gathered together from time to time and published in her works as follows:— (1) Ministry of Song, 1869; (2) Twelve Sacred Songs for Little Singers, 1870; (3) Under the Surface, 1874; (4) Loyal Responses, 1878; (5) Life Mosaic, 1879; (6) Life Chords, 1880; and (7) Life Echoes, 1883.[2]

About fifteen of the more important of Havergal's hymns, including “Golden harps are sounding,” “I gave my life for thee," “Jesus, Master, Whose I am,” “Lord, speak to me,” “O Master, at Thy feet,” “Take my life and let it be,” “Tell it out among the heathen," &c., are annotated under their respective first lines. The rest, which are in collections, number nearly fifty. These are noted here, together with dates and places of composition, from the Havergal manuscripts and the works in which they were published. Those which were printed in Parlane's Series of Leaflets are distinguished as (P., 1872, &c.) and those in Caswall's series (C., 1873, &c). [3]

  1. A happy New Year! Even such may it be. (Occasion or theme: New Year.) From Under the Surface, 1874.
  2. Certainly I will be with thee. Birthday. September 1871, at Perry Barr. (P. 1871.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  3. Church of God, beloved and chosen. (Occasion or theme: Sanctified in Christ Jesus.) 1873. (P. 1873.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  4. God Almighty, King of nations. (Occasion or theme: Sovereignty of God.) 1872. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  5. God doth not bid thee wait.. (Occasion or theme: God faithful to His promises.) October 22, 1868, at Okehampton. (P. 1869.) Published in Ministry of Song, 1869, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  6. God of heaven, hear our singing. (Occasion or theme: A Child's hymn for Missions.) October 22, 1869, at Leamington. Published in her Twelve Sacred Songs for Little Singers, 1870, and her Life Chords, 1880.
  7. God will take care of you, All through the day. (Occasion or theme: The Good Shepherd.) In Mrs. Brock's Children's Hymn Book, 1881.
  8. God's reiterated all. (Occasion or theme: New Year.) 1873, at Winterdyne. (C. 1873.) Published in Loyal Responses, 1878, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  9. Have you not a word for Jesus?. (Occasion or theme: Boldness for the Truth.) November 1871, at Perry Barr. (P. 1872.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  10. He hath spoken in the darkness. (Occasion or theme: Voice of God in sorrow.) June 10, 1869, at Neuhausen. (P. 1870.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and in Life Mosaic, 1879.
  11. Hear the Father's ancient promise. (Occasion or theme: Promise of the Holy Spirit.) August 1870. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  12. Holy and Infinite! Wiewless, Eternal. (Occasion or theme: Infinity of God.) IST2. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  13. Holy brethren, called and chosen. (Occasion or theme: Motive for Earnestness.) 1872. of Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1876.
  14. I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus. (Occasion or theme: Faith.) September 1874, at Ormont Dessons. (P. 1874.) Published in Loyal Responses, 1878, and Life Chords, 1880. Havergal's tune, "Urbane" (Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1048), was composed for this hymn. The hymn was the author's “own favourite,” and was found in her pocket Bible after her death.
  15. I bring my sins to Thee. (Occasion or theme: Resting all on Jesus.) June, 1870. (P. 1870.) Printed in the Sunday Magazine, 1870, and Home Words, 1872. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Chords, 1880.
  16. I could not do without Thee. (Occasion or theme: Jesus All in All.) May 7, 1873. (P. 1873.) Printed in Home Words, 1873, and published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  17. In full and glad surrender. (Occasion or theme: Confirmation.) Havergal's sister says this hymn was “The epitome of her [Miss F. R. H.'s] life and the focus of its sunshine.” It is a hymn of personal consecration to God at all times.
  18. In the ing there is weeping. (Occasion or theme: Sorrow followed by Joy.) June 19, 1869, at the Hotel Jungfraublick, Interlaken. “It rained all day, except a very bright interval before dinner. Curious long soft white clouds went slowly creeping along the Schynige Platte; I wrote “Evening Tears and Morning Songs." (Marg. reading of Ps. xxx. 5.)" (P. 1870.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874.
  19. Increase our faith, beloved Lord. (Occasion or theme: Increase of Faith desired.) In Loyal Responses, 1878, in 11 st. of 4 I., on St. Luke xvii. 5. It is usually given in an abridged form.
  20. Is it for me, dear Saviour?. (Occasion or theme: Heaven anticipated.) November 1871, at Perry Barr. (P. 1872.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  21. Israel of God, awaken. (Occasion or theme: Christ our Righteousness.00 May, 1871, at Perry Barr. (P. 1872.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  22. Jehovah's covenant shall endure. (Occasion or theme: The Divine Covenant), 1872. Published in Charles Busbridge Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1876.
  23. Jesus, blessed Saviour. (Occasion or theme: New Year.) November 25, 1872, at Leamington. (P. 1873.) Printed in the Day, spring Magazine, January 1873, and published in Life Chords, 1880.
  24. Jesus only! In the shadow. (Occasion or theme: Jesus All in All.) December 4, 1870, at Pyrmont Villa. (P. de C. 1871.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and in Life Mosaic, 1879.
  25. Joined to Christ by [in] mystic union. (Occasion or theme: The Church the Body of Christ.) May, 1871, at Perry Barr. (P. 1872.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, Life Mosaic, 1879.
  26. Just when Thou wilt, 0 Master, call. (Occasion or theme: Resignation.) In Loyal Responses, 1878, in 5 st. of 4 l., and Whiting's Hys. for the Church Catholic, 1882.
  27. King Eternal and Immortal. (Occasion or theme: God Eternal.) Written at Perry Willa, Perry Barr, February 11, 1871, and published in Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1876; Under the Surface, 1874; and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  28. Light after darkness, Gain after loss. (Occasion or theme: Peace in Jesus, and the Divine Reward.) In Sankey's Sac. Songs and Solos, from her Life Mosaic, 1879.
  29. Like a river glorious, Is God's perfect Peace. (Occasion or theme: Peace.) In her Loyal Responses, 1878, in 3 st. of 8 l., with the chorus, “Stayed upon Jehovah.” In several collections.
  30. Master, speak! Thy servant heareth. (Occasion or theme: Fellowship with and Assistance from Christ desired.) Sunday evening, May 19, 1867, at Weston-super-Mare. Published in Ministry of Song, 1869, and Life Mosaic, 1879. It is very popular.
  31. New mercies, new blessings, new light on thy way. (Occasion or theme: New Life in Christ.) 1874, st Winterdyne. (0. 1874.) Published in Under His Shadow, 1879, Life Chords, 1880.
  32. Not your own, but His ye are. (Occasion or theme: Missions.) January 21, 1867. (C. 1867.) Published in Ministry of Song, 1869; Life Mosaic, 1879; and the Hyl. for Church Missions, 1884.
  33. Now let us sing the ' song. (Occasion or theme: Christmas.) In her Life Mosaic, 1879; and W. R. Stevenson's School Hymnal, 1880.
  34. Now the daylight goes away. (Occasion or theme: Evening.) October 17, 1869, at Leamington. Published in Songs for Little Singers, 1870, and Life Chords, 1880. It originally read, “Now the light has gone away.”
  35. Now the sowing and the weeping. (Occasion or theme: Sorrow followed by Joy.) January 4, 1870, at Leamington. Printed in Sunday at Home, 1871; and published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  36. O Glorious God and King. (Occasion or theme: Praise to the Father.) February 1872. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  37. O Saviour, precious holy! Saviour. (Occasion or theme: Christ worshipped by the Church.) November 1870, at Leamington. (P. 1870.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  38. 0 thou chosen Church of Jesus. (Occasion or theme: Election.) April 6, 1871. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  39. 0 what everlasting blessings God outpo His own. (Occasion or theme: Salvation everlasting.) August 12, 1871, Perry Barr. (P. 1871.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  40. Our Father, our Father, Who dwellest in light. (Occasion or theme: The blessing of the Father desired.) May 14, 1872. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879. Miss Havergal's tune, Tertius, was composed for this hymn.
  41. Our Saviour and our King. (Occasion or theme: Presentation of the Church to the Father.) (Heb. ii. 13.) May, 1871, at Perry Barr. (P. 1871.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  42. Precious, precious blood of Jesus. (Occasion or theme: The precious Blood.) September 1874, at Ormont Dessons. (C.) Published in Loyal Responses, 1878, and Life Chords, 1880.
  43. Sing, 0 heavens, the Lord hath done it. (Occasion or theme: Redemption.) In The Life Mosaic, 1879, and the Universal H. Bk., 1885.
  44. Sit down beneath. His shadow. (Occasion or theme: Holy Communion.) November 27, 1870, at Leamington. (P. 1870.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  45. Sovereign Lord and gracious Master. (Occasion or theme: Grace consummated in Glory.) October 22, 1871. (P. 1872.) Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  46. Standing at the portal of the opening year. (Occasion or theme: New Year.) January 4, 1873. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Chords, 1880.
  47. To Thee, 0 Comforter divine. (Occasion or theme: Praise to the Holy Spirit.) August 11, 1872, at Perry Barr. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879. Miss Havergal's tune, Tryphosa, was written for this hymn.
  48. True-hearted, whole-heared, faithful and loyal. (Occasion or theme: Faithfulness to the Saviour.) In her Loyal Responses, 1878, and the Universal Hymn Book, 1885.
  49. What know we, Holy God, of Thee!. (Occasion or theme: God's Spirituality.) 1872. Published in Under the Surface, 1874, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  50. Who is on the Lord's side!. (Occasion or theme: Home Missions.) October 13, 1877. Published in Loyal Responses, 1878, and Life Chords, 1880.
  51. With quivering heart and trembling will. (Occasion or theme: Resignation.) July 10, 1866, at Luccombe Rectory. (P. 1866.) Published in Ministry of Song, 1869, and Life Mosaic, 1879.
  52. Will ye not come to Him for life?. (Occasion or theme: The Gospel footation.) 1873. Published in Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory d: G., 1876.
  53. Worthy of all adoration. (Occasion or theme: Praise to Jesus as the Lamb upon the throne.) February 26, 1867, at Oakhampton. Published in Ministry of Song, 1869, and Life Mosaic, 1874. It is pt. iii. of the “Threefold Praise,” and was suggested by the “Worthy is the Lamb,” the “Hallelujah" and “Amen "choruses in Handel's Messiah.
  54. Ye who hear the blessed call. (Occasion or theme: The Invitation of the Spirit and the Bride.) March, 1869, at Leamington. (P. 1869.) Published in Ministry of Song, 1869, and Life Mosaic, 1879. Suggested by, and written for, the Young Men's Christian Association.
  55. Yes, He knows the way is dreary. (Occasion or theme: Encouragement.) 1867. Published in Ministry of Song, 1869.

Most of these hymns are given in Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1872 and 1876, his †. 1874, and the Musical ed., 1880, and many of them are also in several other hymn-books, including H. A. & M., Thring, Church Hys., Hy. Comp., &c., and some of the leading American collections.

Death and legacy[edit]

Memorial plaque
Memorial plaque situated near Caswell Bay
Astley, Worcestershire, St Peter's Church: grave of Frances Ridley Havergal and of her father William Henry Havergal

Havergal died of peritonitis near Caswell Bay on the Gower Peninsula in Wales at age 42. She is buried in the far western corner of the churchyard at St Peter's parish church, Astley, together with her father and near her sister, Maria Vernon Graham Havergal.[4]

Her sisters saw much of her work published posthumously. Havergal College, a private girls' school in Toronto, is named after her. The composer Havergal Brian adopted the name as a tribute to the Havergal family.

Style and themes[edit]

Her hymns praised the love of God, and His way of salvation to this end, and for this object, her whole life and all her powers were consecrated. She lived and spoke in every line of her poetry.[1]

Her religious views and theological bias were distinctly set forth in her poems, and may be described as mildly Calvinistic, without the severe dogmatic tenet of reprobation. The burden of her writings was a free and full salvation, through the Redeemer's merits, for every sinner who will receive it, and her life was devoted to the proclamation of this truth by personal labours, literary efforts, and earnest interest in Foreign Missions.[1]

Selected works[edit]

"Take my life, and let it be"
(hymn)

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.[5]

  • Ministry of Song (1870)
  • Take My Life and Let It Be (1874)
  • Under the Surface (1874)
  • The four happy days (1874)
  • Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace (1876)
  • Who Is on the Lord's Side? (1877)
  • Royal Commandments (1878)
  • O Merciful Redeemer
  • Loyal Responses (1878)
  • Kept for the Master's Use (1879) memoir
  • Life Chords (1880)
  • Royal Bounty (1877)
  • Little Pillows, or Goodnight Thoughts for the Little Ones (1880)
  • Morning bells, or, Waking thoughts for the little ones (1880)
  • Swiss Letters and Alpine Poems (1881) edited by J. M. Crane
  • Under His Shadow: the Last Poems of Frances Ridley Havergal (1881)
  • The Royal Invitation (1882)
  • Life Echoes (1883)
  • Poetical Works (1884) edited by M. V. G. Havergal and Frances Anna Shaw
  • Coming to the King (1886)
  • Jesus, Master, Whose I am Hymns of the Christian Life 1936
  • My King and His Service (1892)
  • Forget Me Nots of Promise, Text from Scripture and verses by Frances Ridley Havergal, Marcus Ward&Co.

Gallery[edit]

Book covers[edit]

Illustrations[edit]

See also[edit]

English women hymnwriters (18th to 19th-century)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Julian 1892, p. 496.
  2. ^ Julian 1892, p. 497.
  3. ^ Julian 1892, p. 497-98.
  4. ^ A Guide and History of the Parish Church of St Peter. Astley, Worcestershire (2010), p. 20
  5. ^ Written February 4, 1874.

Attribution[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Frances Ridley Havergal Janet Grierson, The Havergal Society, Worcester 1979 ISBN 0-9506544-0-X
  • Frances Ridley Havergal's Last Week (1879) Maria Vernon Graham Havergal
  • Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal, by her Sister (1880) M. V. G. Havergal, including an autobiography
  • Florence Nightingale, Frances Ridley Havergal, Catherine Marsh, Mrs Ranyard (1885) Lizzie Alldridge
  • Frances Ridley Havergal: a full sketch of her life, (1904) Edward Davies
  • Women who have worked and won : the life-story of Mrs. Spurgeon, Mrs. Booth-Tucker, F.R. Havergal, and Pandita Ramabai (1904) Jennie Chappell
  • In Trouble and in Joy: Four Women Who Lived for God, (2004) Sharon James, ISBN 0-85234-584-4. Biographies of Margaret Baxter (1639–1681), Sarah Edwards (1710–1758), Anne Steele (1717–1778) and Frances Ridley Havergal
  • Francis Ridley Havergal - Opened Treasures : 366 Choice Meditations - Loizeaux Bros, New York, 1979

Further reading[edit]

  • Waite, Yvonne S. Take My Life: a Portrait of Frances Havergal. Collingswood, N.J.: The Bible for Today, [ca. 2000]. 25 p. N.B.: Transcript of a bio-dramatic text, for public recitation, about the life, religious piety, and accomplishments of this lady hymnist.

External links[edit]