A Celebration of Women Writers

"HYMN III. " by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743 - 1825)

First Publication: Hymns in Prose for Children. by Anna Letitia Barbauld. London: J. Johnson, 1781. pp. 12-19.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


Behold the Shepherd of the flock, he taketh care for his sheep, he leadeth them among clear brooks, [Page 13]  he guideth them to fresh pasture; if the young lambs are weary, he carrieth them in his arms; if they wander, he bringeth them back.

But who is the shepherd's shepherd? who taketh care for him? who guideth him in the path he should go? and if he wander, who shall bring him back? [Page 14] 

God is the shepherd's shepherd. He is the Shepherd over all; he taketh care for all; the whole earth is his fold: we are all his flock; and every herb, and every green field is the pasture which he hath prepared for us.

The mother loveth her little child; she bringeth it up on her knees; she nourisheth its body with food; she [Page 15]  feedeth its mind with knowledge: if it is sick, she nurseth it with tender love; she watcheth over it when asleep; she forgetteth it not for a moment; she teacheth it how to be good; she rejoiceth daily in its growth.

But who is the parent of the mother? who nourisheth her with good things, and watcheth over her with ten-[Page 16] der love, and remembereth her every moment? Whose arms are about her to guard her from harm? and if she is sick, who shall heal her?

God is the parent of the mother; he is the parent of all, for he created all. All the men, and all the women who are alive in the wide world, are his children; he loveth all, he is good to all. [Page 17] 

The king governeth his people; he hath a golden crown upon his head, and the royal sceptre is in his hand; he sitteth upon a throne, and sendeth forth his commands; his subjects fear before him; if they do well, he protecteth them from danger; and if they do evil, he punisheth them.

But who is the sovereign [Page 18]  of the king? who commandeth him what he must do? whose hand is stretched out to protect him from danger? and if he doeth evil, who shall punish him?

God is the sovereign of the king; his crown is of rays of light, and his throne is amongst the stars. He is King of kings, and Lord of lords: if he biddeth us live, [Page 19]  we live; and if he biddeth us die, we die: his dominion is over all worlds, and the light of his countenance is upon all his works.

God is our Shepherd, therefore we will follow him: God is our Father, therefore we will love him: God is our King, therefore we will obey him.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom