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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Critical and Biographical Essay by Alfred H. Miles

Catherine Winkworth (1829–1878)

BY the publication of “Lyra Germanica” (first series, 1855; second series, 1858) and “The Chorale Book for England” (1863) Catherine Winkworth (1829–1878) enriched English hymnody from German sources, as Neale, Caswell, Chandler, Gerard Moultrie, and others enriched it from the hymns of the Eastern Church. Born at Alderley Edge, Cheshire, on the 13th of September, 1829, she lived successively in the neighbourhoods of Manchester and Bristol, and died at Monnetier, Savoy, in July 1878. In addition to her translations of German hymns, she translated, also from the German, “The Life of Pastor Fliedner” (1861) and “The Life of Amelia Sieveking” (1863), and published a biographical work, “The Christian Singers of Germany” (1869). Dr. Martineau says her translations “are invariably faithful, and for the most part both terse and delicate, and an admirable art is applied to the management of complex and difficult versification. They have not quite the fire of John Wesley’s versions of Moravian hymns, or the wonderful fusion and reproduction of thought which may be found in Coleridge. But if less flowing, they are more conscientious than either, and attain a result as poetical as severe exactitude admits, being only a little short of ‘Native Music.’” One of the best known of her translations is the hymn commencing “Now thank we all our God.” Others, which are very fine, are too long for quotation; the following must suffice, but all are worthy of attention.