Above: Logo of The Church of England
Image in the Public Domain
HARRIET AUBER (OCTOBER 4, 1773-JANUARY 20, 1862)
Anglican Hymn Writer
Many people have sought to glorify themselves. A large proportion of them have succeeded. Human glory is fleeting, however. Harriet Auber (1773-1862) succeeded in glorifying God, whose glory is everlasting.
Auber was of Huguenot ancestry. Her grandfather, Pierre Auber, had fled France in 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Our saint’s father was James Auber, a clergyman of The Church of England. Harriet entered the world at Spitalfields, Stepney, Middlesex, England, on October 4, 1773.
Our saint, who lived quietly in the villages of Broxbourne and Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, for most of her life, left an outstanding literary legacy. She wrote at least 41 hymns before and after 1829, the year of the publication of The Spirit of the Psalms: A Compressed Version of Select Portions of the Psalms of David, Adapted to Christian Worship, which she edited anonymously. She even engaged in misdirection, identifying the editor in the preface as
A CLERGYMAN OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
so that she would attract no attention or glory. The purpose of the volume was to improve on the poetic quality of extant metrical psalters.
Auber, who was so humble that she even refused to permit relatives to see her poems, never married. For many years she lived with a friend, Mary Jane Mackenzie, at Hoddesdon. Mackenzie wrote religious books, such as the following:
- Geraldine; or, Modes of Faith and Practice; A Tale, in Three Volumes–Volumes I, II, and III (1820);
- Lectures on the Parables, Selected from the New Testament (1822);
- Lectures on the Miracles (1825); and
- Private Life; or, Varieties of Character and Opinion–Volumes I and II (1829).
Residents of the village cherished “the memory of the two saintly ladies” with “veneration and affection,” according to the Handbook to The Church Hymnary–Revised Edition (1927), page 257. That volume said of Auber,
Her spirit was one of singular beauty and attractiveness.
She died at Hoddesdon on January 20, 1862.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
SEPTEMBER 16, 2015 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF CHARLES EDWARD OAKLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER
THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDMILLA, DUCHESS OF BOHEMIA
THE FEAST OF MARTIN BEHM, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER
THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILIBERT AND AICARDUS OF JUMIEGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS
Dear God of beauty,
you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to
Harriet Auber and others, who have composed hymn texts.
May we, as you guide us,
find worthy hymn texts to be icons,
through which we see you.
In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK
THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR
THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH
This is post #1450 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.