A Celebration of Women Writers

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

First Publication: Hymns in Prose for Children. by Anna Lætitia Barbauld. London: J. Johnson, 1781. pp. 53-63.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 53]


SEE where stands the cottage of the labourer, covered with warm thatch; the mother is spinning at the door; the young children sport before her on the grass; the elder ones learn to labour, and are obedient; the father worketh to provide them food: either he tilleth the [Page 54]  ground, or he gathereth in the corn, or shaketh his ripe apples from the tree: his children run to meet him when he cometh home, and his wife prepareth the wholesome meal.

The father, the mother, and the children, make a family; the father is the master thereof. If the family is numerous, and the grounds large, there are servants to [Page 55]  help to do the work: all these dwell in one house; they sleep beneath one roof; they eat of the same bread; they kneel down together and praise God every night and every morning with one voice; they are very closely united, and are dearer to each other than any strangers. If one is sick, they mourn together; and if one is happy, they rejoice together. [Page 56] 

Many houses are built together; many families live near one another; they meet together on the green, and in pleasant walks, and to buy and sell, and in the house of justice; and the sound of the bell calleth them to the house of God, in company. If one is poor, his neighbour helpeth him; if he is sad, he comforteth him. This is a village; see where it stands en-[Page 57] closed in a green shade, and the tall spire peeps above the trees. If there be very many houses, it is a townit is governed by a magistrate.

Many towns, and a large extent of country, make a kingdom: it is enclosed by mountains; it is divided by rivers; it is washed by seas; the inhabitants thereof are countrymen; they speak the same [Page 58]  language; they make war and peace togethera king is the ruler thereof.

Many kingdoms, and countries full of people, and islands, and large continents, and different climates, make up this whole worldGod governeth it. The people swarm upon the face of it like ants upon a hillock: some are black with the hot [Page 59]  sun; some cover themselves with furs against the sharp cold; some drink of the fruit of the vine; some the pleasant milk of the cocoa-nut; and others quench their thirst with the running stream.

All are God's family; he knoweth every one of them, as a shepherd knoweth his flock: they pray to him in different languages, but he [Page 60]  understandeth them all; he heareth them all; he taketh care of all; none are so great, that he cannot punish them; none are so mean, that he will not protect them.

Negro woman, who sittest pining in captivity, and weepest over thy sick child; though no one seeth thee, God seeth thee; though no one pitieth the, God pitieth [Page 61]  thee: raise thy voice, forlorn and abandoned one; call upon him from amidst thy bonds, for assuredly he will hear thee.

Monarch, that rulest over an hundred states; whose frown is terrible as death, and whose armies cover the land, boast not thyself as though there were none above thee:God is above thee; [Page 62]  his powerful arm is always over thee; and if thou doest ill, assuredly he will punish thee.

Nations of the earth, fear the Lord; families of men, call upon the name of your God.

Is there any one whom God hath not made? let him not worship him: is there [Page 63]  any one whom he hath not blessed? let him not praise him.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom