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Edited by Gordon Jackson
Categories: 17th Century, Christianity
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (320 pages)
(Pub. Apr 1999)
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Isaac Watts (1674-1748) has been sung by almost everyone whose first language is English, but read by only a few. The time has come to challenge that neglect.
This book presents a selection of Watts's poems, showing that he was a consummate artist as well as an enthusiast, scholar and populariser. He taught the English people how to worship and enjoy God 'in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs'. He spells out a religion free of sourness, without affectation. His rhetoric is bold, natural and full of joy. Watts was incapable of damning God with faint praise. Art and faith in his poems and hymns are manifestations of the same impulse.
Born in Leeds in 1938, GORDON JACKSON was at school with his friend and mentor the poet John Riley, whose work he first printed and published under his Grosseteste Press imprint in 1966. He later published 50 titles of his own work under the Asgill imprint. His working life has been mainly in teacher education, pioneering among other things work on Shakespeare for the primary school. In 1997 Carcanet published The Lincoln Psalter, his Psalm translations.
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