Williams, Isaac


b Cwmcynfelyn, Cardigan 1802, d Stinchcombe, nr Dursley, Glos 1865. A writer of verse from the age of 12; Harrow Sch; Trinity Coll Oxford (becoming a Fellow in 1829). Ordained (CofE) 1825, to a curacy at Windrush, Glos. He shared with Newman and Keble (his ‘spiritual father’) in the ‘Oriel group’ and the development of the Oxford movement. He was Newman’s curate at St Mary’s Oxford, curate at Bisley, Glos from 1842 until illness forced his resignation in 1848, and assistant to the incumbent of Stinchcombe, a few miles to the SW, for the remainder of his life. He had been proposed to succeed Keble (to whom he has been compared for saintliness) as Prof of Poetry, but his tractarian views aroused strong and effective opposition. Among his published vols of verse were The Cathedral (1838), Hymns translated from the Paris Breviary (1839), Hymns on the Catechism (1842), The Baptistery (1844) and Sacred Verses (1845). One of the first generation of ‘Oxford movement’ translators of Lat hymns since 1836, he was well-represented in the early edns of A&M; the current (2000) book has two survivors, one of which (his best-known text, included here) is found in hymnals of many traditions. The other, Disposer supreme, dresses a compact Lat text in a far more expansive English metre with scope for some vivid language; ‘the version surpasses the original in dignity and beauty’— Ellerton. In spite of his not reaching the ‘first rank’ of hymnwriters, his life and work are extensively treated in Julian. No.611.

Hymns and songs by Williams, Isaac

Number Hymn Name
611 O Lord, our guardian and our guide