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A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER.
Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
For I have more.
For I have more.
I fear no more.
(16—.) The manuscript, No. 3357, of the Harleian collection, is a small well-preserved volume, bound in white vellum, the written characters of which still sparkle with the silver sand used more than two centuries ago to expedite the process of drying. It is entitled “ A Handful of Celestiall Flowers; viz., Divers selected Psalms of David in verse, differently translated from those used in the Church ; Divers Meditations upon our Saviour's Passion;
A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER.--Page 92. It was the delight of Dr. Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, and author of the above hymu, to hear it sung to the organ by the choristers of his cathedral to "a most grave and solemn tune."
Certain Hymnes or Carrols for Christmas Daie; A Divine Pastorell Eglogue; Meditations upon the 1st and 13th verses of ye 17 chap. of Job. Composed by divers worthie and learned gentlemen. Manuscribed by R. Cr.”
The Psalms are the productions of Francis and Christopher Davison and others, and are verbatim copies of those in another of the Harleian MSS. The “Divine Pastorell Eglogue,” in which shepherds argue the question of predestination, was written by Thomas Randolph, an adopted son of Ben Jonson. Other writers whose works are laid under contribution are W. Bagnall, Richard Gipps, and Joseph Brian. Besides those to whose identity the clue is sufficiently given, there is a certain W.A., who is the author of the Christmas Day Carols, of which the following extract is one. Who this W. A. may be, is not a matter of much importance, but one or two circumstances have suggested themselves rather than been sought, during the examination of the volume, which, put together, make a slight presumption in favour of one individual to be reckoned the W. A. in question.
Ralph Crane, himself a poet, who in 1621 had pub. lished “The Workes of Mercy, both Corporall and Spirituall,” compiled the “Handful of Celestiall Flowers" for a new year's gift (1632), to Sir Francis Ashley, knight, one of his Majesty's serjeants-at-law. The conclusion of the dedicatory address assures Sir Francis that they are “presented as memorials that he who was ever to your deceased brother an unfortunate servant; still to your worthy self a most entirely affected beadesman, Raphe Crane.” This passage is demonstrative of the former existence, between Crane and the late brother of Sir Francis, of a relation which invested the one with patronage and claimed gratitude as the debt of the other.
The names of contributors are marked in many cases by double initials : thus Fr. Da., for Francis Davison, who, as a man dead since 1618, was simply to be identified, but not conciliated by any titular compliment.
The “Eglogue” is marked as having been written by T. Randolph, gent.; a form which indicates that the fame of Randolph, as that of a young man, had had no time to mellow, and that it was necessary to give his name in full; and to be also complimentary to him as yet living and vigorous.
The “Hymnes or Carrols" are marked by the initials W. A., Esq. Comparing the style employed with regard to him with that used with reference to the other contributors, we observe that W. A. must have been used to designate a person with whom Sir Francis Ashley was or had been familiar; and again, that the Esq., a title of honour, is given either as a compliment to Sir Francis, or is the natural expression of a veneration which was or had been cherished towards W. A., living or dead. These considerations point to W. A. as the deceased brother of Sir Francis Ashley, whose “unfortunate servant" Crane had been. The presumption is, as we said, a slight one, but it may be sufficient to relieve the minds of persons who have a tendency to alarm at the anonymous; and if any one, after an elaborate search of registers, should discover that Sir Francis Ashley had no brother whose Christian name began with W., we may, whilst accepting the information, calmly retort that his jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
See a wonder
Heaven is under :