Cox, Frances Elizabeth


b Oxford 1812, d Iffley, nr Oxford 1897. She seems to have spent her life in or around Oxford, but in view of her literary achievements it is tantalising to know so little of her education and development and her other interests and activities. Guided by Baron CCJ Bunsen, Prussian Ambassador from 1841 to 1854 and a friend of the Winkworths (qv), she became an outstanding translator into English verse of German hymns, worthy to stand with Catherine Winkworth and John Wesley. Her work has ‘…so much ease and grace, that the fact of translation is hardly apparent’—Champneys Irwine. Her original hymns, first featured in various magazines, did not prove so successful. In 1841, before the work of Massie, Borthwick and Winkworth, she published Sacred Hymns from the German (49 translations with the original texts and notes), which greatly raised the profile of German hymns generally, and Hymns from the German in 1864. The 2nd book included 27 from the 1st, some in revised form, and 29 new translations. Songs of Praise (1931) includes 3 of her versions. The Easter hymn (from F Gellert) for which she is best known in the UK is not so well known in the USA as her translation from Schütz. Nos.261, 465.

Hymns and songs by Cox, Frances Elizabeth

Number Hymn Name
261 Sing praise to God who reigns above
465 Jesus lives! Your terrors now