1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Moses Browne

John Holland, in Psalmists of Britain. Records of upwards of One Hundred and Fifty Authors, who have rendered the Whole or Parts of The Book of Psalms, into English Verse (1843) 2:238-39.



Several years before the publication of "The Task," had given celebrity to a spot, the claims of which to association with sacred song were more distinctly advanced by the "Olney Hymns," the secluded Buckinghamshire Vicarage House, where the fervent spirit of John Newton, and the chaste genius of William Cowper first coalesced, had become, in some degree, "holy ground" with the Christian Muse. The Rev. Moses Browne, who died in 1787, published, while Vicar of Olney, several Poetical Essays of considerable length, and which found numerous readers, especially among religious persons about the middle of the last century. Of these Poems, "An Essay on the Universe," and "Sunday Thoughts," have passed through several editions; and though little adapted to the highly stimulated and more fastidious appetites of the present day, they, nevertheless, contain much that a pious individual even of refined taste may enjoy, — and not a little, that has rather been superseded by a more elegant recomposition of the same themes, than that it has become obsolete through any defect in the original selection. Several of the descriptive and moral passages in the "Sunday Thoughts," while they lack the exquisite finish and concentration of Cowper's style, often remind us forcibly of the cast of thought of that most delightful of Poets. The Fourth Part of Browne's Poem last named, comprises, under the designation of "Occasional Night Songs," Versions of Psalms cxxx. and cxxxix.