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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

Norman Macleod (1812–1872)

NORMAN MACLEOD was born at Campbeltown, Argyllshire, on the 3rd of June, 1812. He studied at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and became parish minister at Loudoun, in Ayrshire, in 1838, and at Dalbeattie in 1843. In 1846 he visited Canada on a mission for the General Assembly of the Church, and in 1851 was inducted into the Barony parish, Glasgow. He was made a D.D. of Glasgow in 1858, and became Editor of Good Words on its foundation in 1860. In 1867 he visited the mission field of India on behalf of the General Assembly, and in 1869 was elected Moderator. He died at Glasgow on the 16th of June, 1872.

Norman Macleod wrote little verse, and except for one stirring song would have had no title to recognition here. This song, “Trust in God,” first appeared in the Edinburgh Christian Magazine for January 1857 (a magazine edited by its author), and has since found its way into countless collections of verse. The justification of the use of verse as a means of expression must be that it is able to express the thought of the writer more effectively than it could be expressed within the same limits in prose. This, if its only justification, must be taken as sufficient, and it justifies the existence of much more or less didactic verse, which, if not poetry, fulfils at least some of the offices of poetry in elevating thought, stimulating action, and quickening love.

These verses are full of moral stimulus, much of which would evaporate in the process of reducing them to prose. Hence the justification of their poetic form.