Feast of William Cullen Bryant (June 13)   1 comment

William Cullen Bryant

Above:  William Cullen Bryant, Circa 1876

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-00073



U.S. Journalist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

I have been adding “new” June saints in denominational categories, starting with Moravians then moving on to Lutherans.  Anglicans will follow this post.  William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) belonged to his own category.

Bryant, the son of farmers, entered the world at Cummington, Massachusetts, on November 3, 1794.  He was a natural-born writer, becoming a published poet at age fourteen and the author of Thanatopsis four years later.  His first career, however, was law.  Bryant attended law school at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, for two years before finances forced him to drop out.  Next he worked in a law office.  Thus, at the age to twenty-one, he became an attorney in 1815.  Bryant practiced law at Plainfield, Massachusetts, from 1815 to 1816 and at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, from 1816 to 1825.

Journalism beckoned, however.  Our saint left his career in law behind in 1825, when he relocated to New York City and became and editor.  In 1825-1826 he edited, in rapid succession, the New York Review, the United States Review, and the Literary Gazette.  He found stability with the New York Evening Post, of which he was the Assistant Editor (1826-1828) then the Chief Editor (1828-1878).  Bryant used his position to oppose slavery and to support the rights of immigrants, labor unionists, and members of religious minorities.

Our saint had an interesting religious journey.  He wrote twenty hymns, some of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Social justice was among his favorite themes, as was nature, the topic of more than a hundred original poems.  These themes were evident throughout his life.  Bryant grew up a Congregationalist, was briefly a Unitarian in New York City, then attended Episcopal services in the city and Presbyterian services near his Long Island home.  In 1858, however, he became convinced of the necessity of baptism by immersion and joined a Baptist congregation.

Bryant died on Long Island on June 12, 1878.





O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


One response to “Feast of William Cullen Bryant (June 13)

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  1. Pingback: William Cullen Bryant | GATHERED PRAYERS

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